Category: Archive

Echo Style: Fashion conscious

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Since its launch last spring, EDUN has represented a revelation in business terms. Founded out of a desire to shift the focus away from aid and towards fair trade in the developing world, the company aims produces clothing using locally run factories in Africa, South America and India.
“The intent was really to create a viable fashion brand that was ethically and socially conscientious and to produce in parts of the world that need the work,” according to EDUN designer Rogan Gregory.
Gregory was the perfect man for the job, having spent the last six years designing and developing Loomstate, his own fair trade, 100 percent organic range of Jeans and T-shirts.
“I’ve always been interested in trying to operate our business efficiently and ethically, trying to be socially conscious and environmentally conscious,” said Gregory, speaking to the Irish Echo last week.
“One day a stylist came into the showroom to pull clothes for U2. We started talking to her about what we were working on. She was interested in our culture. We ended up meeting Bono and Ali very soon after that and we were just culturally, kind of cut from the same cloth, no pun intended.”
The public responded well to the concept; now in its third season, EDUN has grown from an idea into an internationally distributed brand. Now Gregory wants people to focus less on the concept and more on the clothes themselves. Last week’s fashion show, themed “L’air du Temps,” (Spirit of the Times) was an Art Nouveau-inspired event where the clothes were displayed amidst an exhibition of works by contemporary artists such as Katherine Bernhardt, Cecily Brown and Jonathan Safran Foer.
“I don’t understand fashion shows; for me they lack content,” according to Gregory.
“There’s so much to our brand, it’s a lot more than just sitting around kind of looking at it. I mean, there’s the visual component, there’s also the more intellectual part of it and the cultural part of it. I think doing this exhibition kind of demonstrates our culture.”
This year’s fall collection was inspired by that same “Art Nouveau,” aesthetic.
“We named the two collections we’re working on “L’air de Temps,” and “Armour and Alchemy,” he said.
“There are aspects of armor in the collection. Not literally but figuratively. We had some metal and some fabrics and the shape of the fabrics is kind of reminiscent of armor. Alchemy is this mysterious look. I would describe the collection as beautiful clothing that has a little quirkiness and a sense of humor.”
So how do EDUN clothes fare in the world of high fashion?
“I’m not going to design or be involved in something that doesn’t have that credibility and I believe that Bono and Ali are the same way,” he said. “They do things right and they want to be the best they can be in their respective media. It was always our intent to create this line that would be both beautiful clothing. The second most important thing is to try to do it fairly and ethically. Is it perfect? Absolutely no way. Making it perfect would mean we’d have to compromise a lot of the aesthetic, the fit and a lot of other things. Are we making huge headway and progress in third world countries that need this work and are able to do it? Yes.”
Who does the EDUN style most appeal to?
“EDUN is a comprehensive fashion collection of beautiful clothes,” he said. “I’m interested in producing the kind of clothes that both my sister and my mother can wear. My sister is willing to invest in beautiful clothing but wants something that’s current and trendy and my mom just wants a good fit and something that’s flattering. This collection is really ageless like that. We appeal to a wide range which is really quite an accomplishment.”
Ali Hewson, the driving force behind EDUN, is a hands-on team member, according to Gregory.
“Bono obviously is a very busy guy but we’re intimately involved with Ali,” Gregory said.
“Its kind of like a family environment with Ali. We work closely together. She’s great. She’s really respectful and shrewd and smart, you know, a powerful woman.”
EDUN has paved the way for the launch of RED, Bono’s new clothing line in conjunction with companies like American express, Converse and Armani, which will see a percentage of it’s profits go towards healthcare and HIV prevention in Africa. Does Gregory think people like himself, Bono and Ali Hewson have the power to make the global clothing trade a fair one?
“I think these guys are ahead of the curve and they’re doing things that are above and beyond what’s expected of a rock star,” he said.
“I think there needs to be some sort of cultural realization that we’re not alone on this planet. We have to be considerate of our environment too, above and beyond people. If we don’t look after our environment, we’re going to be in big trouble.”

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