EDUN: Intriguing. But How Green? How Fair?


The Citizen's Band at The Box, February 4, 2007. Photo by Celene Ruben-Salama

Over the last week you've likely seen photos of darkly clad crooners along with headlines about "Green fashion" and "Fashion getting its conscience" and "Indie film stars" modeling EDUN's fall line. While on one level this seems like eco-fashion wet dream territory, much of the coverage has lacked details. And although the performance art collective Citizen's Band show provided my most substantive and enjoyable Fashion Week experience, when it comes to the clothes they wore throughout, I'm left wondering who made them and which are organic. Not what we expect from the highest profile "fair" and eco brand, right? EDUN, we want to love you. Help us.It's true that TreeHugger is not Vogue or the AP, but it seems like a brand like EDUN would always want to remain true to those who will support it for the back-story as much as the aesthetic. This, and the fact that TreeHugger is listed as a partner on EDUN's site, made our fighting tooth and nail to get into the event surprising.

I can see why we wouldn't be considered super important since we only reach around a million people per month and the goal of such a show is for the clothes to get noticed, create industry buzz, and excite buyers and mainstream consumers. But if your buzz is about being green and fair, shouldn't you take pains to emphasize how? If you're looking to link first world customers to real, business-driven economic development in Africa, and give them a way to support clean clothing production, don't you want to be both pretty and "facty"? We don't expect perfection, just transparency.

Part of the vexation comes from the fact that there are so many designers who take pains to cover and communicate these details, but don't have the capital, access and press attention of EDUN.


Rogan Gregory and Ali Hewson. Photo by Celene Ruben-Salama.

On the flip side of the lack of info is the strangeness of the press' eco focus. The press release didn't emphasize greenness and before the show, designer Rogan Gregory said, "We use organic fabrics when we can." So why do we have quotes like that of Lynn Yaeger from the Village Voice?

The star venue of the week is the Box, Serge Becker's new club on Chrystie Street where the Citizens Band, a troupe of cool-kid cabaret artists, perform dressed in Edun's ecologically correct clothes. (The designers of the achingly PC line include Bono's wife.)

PC snarkiness aside, I guess a collection called "Nature at Night" plus a few eco-themed cabaret numbers plus a vague statement about using organics are enough to earn "ecological correctness"?

To be fair, EDUN is rumored to use 30% organic fabric, have Verite certification, and to be purchasing organic fabric from Uganda.

On the aesthetic end, the choice to mix the Citizen's Band political cabaret with Edun's Art Nouveau emphasis was inspired. Spending nearly an hour with the clothes while transfixed by smart numbers about global warming proved much more resonant than a simple catwalk show.

I would love to tell you all about the gorgeous threads gracing the Citizen's Band bods. And I will, as soon as someone tells us who made them and what's organic. Stay tuned for TreeHugger Radio interviews with Ali Hewson and Rogan Gregory. ::Edun at New York Fashion Week, The Citizen's Band

Tags: Bono