For the last few months, the mono-named rock star who’s been lending his name and voice to weighty subjects like AIDS and third-world debt relief has been all over the media with a new cause. U2 lead singer Bono has launched a clothing line designed by his wife, Ali Hewson, and Rogan Gregory (who coincidentally also goes by the single-name of Rogan). But the cause isn’t saving us from bad design, it’s to raise awareness of that fact that organically grown, natural-fiber clothing made in ethically-run factories doesn’t have to look like so many hippie-sacks twirling in the dust at Grateful Dead show. Bono and Hewson want to see us check the label on our clothes the way many of us have learned to check the labels on the food we eat.
Whereas lines like American Apparel avoid the sweatshop by manufacturing exclusively in the US, this new line will be manufactured in developing countries in factories from Peru to Tunisia that have passed ethical muster. If the company succeeds, it will be a pioneering and alternative form of economic development, creating one job at a time.
But what about the clothes? Edun (do I have to point out that it’s “nude” spelled backward?) is a line of casual clothing for men and women available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s New York and Selfridges. Much of it is standard jeans-wear: denim jacket, mini. Standouts are several draped casual tops (who knew drapey fabric shot through with metallic thread could be organic?!) for women, printed t-shirts and slouchy jeans for gentlemen and unstructured blazers for both. Best bits include the lines by Rainer Maria Rilke found inside the jean pockets and the graphic elements that are Art Deco with a Modern Primitive edge. Rather than being known for groundbreaking design, it’s clear that EDUN will simply be known for demonstrating that ethically-made clothing need not be aesthetically challenged. Say goodbye to hemp potato-sack frocks, organic and fair-trade activists. You too can have style.
Inscribed in every garment are the words, “We carry the story of the people who make our clothes around with us.” And what a story of celebrity, love, fashion, and good works. I’m just glad that in this case the vessel it’s contained in is a pretty, draped and deeply-V’d white top and pegged white jeans.