On the morning of November 16, EDUN founders Ali Hewson and Bono took the stage at the IHT Luxury Conference: The Promise of Africa in Rome to discuss sustainability and fashion with Suzy Menkes. What began as a real insight into the birth of EDUN and its commitment to Africa became a special announcement of a love affair between EDUN and Diesel that will see a collaboration of a denim collection from Africa hit stores in Spring 2013.
Bono is known for his macro-level charitable work in Africa, but when he and Ali Hewson launched EDUN in 2005, it was to learn how to do business with Africa. “If the continent could return to the place it has in the apparel sector, it would dwarf all the aid we were raising,” Bono said.
Suzy Menkes raised the question of whether big corporate brands are beginning to embrace the idea that good cause could translate to good business. Ali Hewson pointed out that LVMH have been very supportive of EDUN because “they understand that consumers want value and meaning.” But luxury is evolving. “Meaning at this point, is a luxury, although we feel it should be a standard.” Hewson said.
Erastus Kuibugu of the Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda also joined Ali and Bono on stage to talk about EDUN’s cotton farming program in Northern Uganda that started with 500 farmers and is currently supporting 8,500 in an effort to become small enterprises.
The real highlight of the panel was unveiling what the heck Renzo Rosso was still doing on stage with the EDUN founders. “On my right is a hero of mine for the work he is doing to fight poverty. And the way he is doing it [with] creative energy,” Bono said of Mr. Rosso, who founded Diesel and has his own project through Only the Brave in Dioro, Mali.
The Diesel + EDUN collaboration is more than just fashion. It is an amazing step towards EDUN’s goal of increasing our volume in Africa and being 100% made in Africa.
To follow the Diesel + EDUN story, visit: http://www.diesel.com/diesel+edun/