By  on February 5, 2005

The name might sound like paradise but Edun, a new socially conscious clothing line cofounded by Bono, is much more complicated than that.

The thought-provoking musician and his wife, Ali Hewson, set up the company with Rogan Gregory, whose Rogan clothing brand has its own cult-like following. Aside from designing sportswear with a definitive point of view, the trio’s aim is to foster sustainable employment and generate commerce in developing nations such as Peru and Tunisia. Simply put, they want to offer trade, not aid. Now they’re readying for next month’s spring launch in 46 Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

“With the Edun brand we hope to make the story of our clothes as great as the design,” Hewson said in a statement.

To some degree, the story began when U2’s stylist, Sharon Blankson, became familiar with Rogan’s environmentally friendly ways. The tale continued when Gregory visited Lugala, the ethereal estate in the Irish countryside owned by Bono and his wife — a retreat “they call a hunting lodge but it’s more like a castle,” Gregory said. He arrived interested in the idea but left inspired by the glinting lake, mossy green landscape and “the way they go about things — they really have amazing instincts.”

Interestingly, Edun is the inversion of Nude, Hewson and Bono’s popular organic fast-food chain in Ireland. In that vein, the clothing line is a parallel to their food business, sharing an aesthetic and a hometown of Dublin.

More than half the cotton is sourced from nonsubsidized organic growers in West Africa and South America. For fall, production will be extended to Lesotho, in southern Africa, and Tanzania, in east Africa.

“I want to be able to buy clothes for me and for my family knowing that no one was exploited en route from initial concept to the finished product,” Hewson said in a statement. 

Chiffon dresses, knit jersey tops, sexy trousers and jeans are some of the 49 styles in the women’s collection. Wholesale prices range from $22 to $125. Each garment carries the brand’s motto, “We carry the story of the people who make our clothes around with us.”

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