The Ethics of Fashion
(Tangent Magazine - Wednesday, May 5, 2010)
Ali Hewson (Mrs. Bono that is) has been the brain child behind fashion label EDUN since 2005. For both Bono and Ali fair trade and civil rights have always been at the forefront of what they represent. EDUN was formed as an extension of their already enormous charitable work and campaigning for fair trade. EDUN is dedicated to sustainable trade with partners in the developing world. Countries such as, Tunisia, Uganda, Madagascar, India, and Peru provide plant derived material for the production of garments.
The concept of EDUN's ethical cause is to build a viable source of fashion production. Together Ali and Bono built EDUN to encourage development of business, creating a community based chain in third world countries. The production of garments starts from the organic farming of Ugandan cotton and the process of manufacturing is then completed within the local community. EDUN LIVE was a blank T-shirt collection that encompassed the 'grow to sew' concept of production within Africa. They also launched limited edition garments in collaboration with Dazed and Confused to benefit War Child. 15% of all sales will benefit War Child's projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ali says 'These countries not only need equipment, but also the experience to see what's required by the fashion industry'.
LVMH Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy extended their support for the label in 2009 by investing in EDUN. LVMH took a minority stake in the company and have broadened the international exposure and increased financing for the label. EDUN will now be the first economically focused label for LVMH which also have stakes in Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton. New creative director of the label Sharon Wauchob was recently assigned to push the label to the top of the fashion ladder. Sharon's career has seen her come from Central Saint Martins College, then moving onto Paris to work at Louis Vuitton, she now has her own clothing line which she will continue to work on. Sharon hopes to propel the emphasis on design while making the market aware of the socially conscious manufacturing of the garments.
With celebrity founders comes high profile endorsement. Ben Affleck and Jefferson Hack have been huge supporters of the label. Following EDUN's success Ali has also launched a natural skin care products called 'nude skincare'. Ingredients are, of course, sourced ethically using fair trade agreements in Morocco and Brazil. The beautiful packaging is made from 40% recycled plastic and Post Consumer Regrind (PCR) making the packaging bio degradable. If you can't find a way to have them recycled then send the packaging back so Nude can take care of the recycling for you. Nude Skincare products are available at Mecca Cosmetica.
Many other ethical labels have taken hold in the fashion industry, Ada Zanditon – a British designer – uses fabric's that are free from carcinogenic dyes, and sources organic fibers from ethical suppliers in the third world. FROM SOMEWHERE is a recycled fabrics line, using vintages pieces and restoring or adapting them to fit the current fashion market and has a celebrity following such as Peaches Geldof.
With powerful backing, and friends in the right places EDUN no doubt will be the first of many ethical fashion labels to have an enormous presence in the fashion market. Ali Hewson is more than Mrs. Bono, creating sustainability in third world communities and ensuring the abolition of sweatshops and child labor. EDUN is stocked in Arida – Sydney and is also available online. http://www.edunonline.com/store.aspx
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