Bono and Ali Hewson celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in August. In today’s WWD snap of the duo celebrating a well-received Edun spring 2012 women’s show and the launch of the men’s ‘Pioneers Project’ marketing campaign, the synergy of their long-lasting relationship is revealed.
In a recent Independent Ireland feature Ali Hewson: It’s a wonderful life being Mrs Bono, the word is that Hewson may be the quiet, laid-back, unassuming half of one of the biggest marriages in show business, but he knows his place.
He said: “I feel our relationship has changed a lot. For a while I thought I was in charge. I was the hunter-protector. A few years ago it became clear somebody else was in charge and I feel I hold on a lot tighter to her than she does to me, and that slightly bothers me.
“She’s so independent and sometimes I wish she wasn’t.”
So yes — Bono is seen loud and clear in today’s WWD shot, and the first question isn’t to Hewson about her show but to Bono: What did you think of your wife’s show today? And Bono answers the second WWD question, too: Why did you think the Edun model was a good way to accomplish some of your philanthropic goals?
Bono: Aid, which I spend half of my life fighting for, is a stopgap. Trade is what takes people out of poverty. Africa faces a couple of big hurdles in the next few years. AGOA [the African Growth and Opportunity Act], which is a trade pact between the U.S. and the continent of Africa, runs out in September of next year. [AGOA expires in 2015, but the special apparel provision expires next September.] Unless Africa starts to produce its own high-level fabrics and improves quality of production, many, many factories will close. That’s the worry. Now the opportunity is open-ended. This is a continent that by 2050 will dwarf any other continent in population. Its richness is well known, under the ground. We just need to get it into the people’s hands. The tools to do that are creativity and commerce. We want to be a part of that.
But finally we hear from the brains behind Edun, Ali Hewson:
Hewson: Really what we wanted to do was to work on the ground in Africa. Bono was working on a macro level with governments and debt cancellation. We wanted to see how the policies translate to factories and the ordinary worker and their daily lives. It’s such an incredible continent, so sexy and bright, and they want the jobs. Every one percent of world trade accounts for $155 billion in trade. That’s four times what sub-Saharan Africa gets in a year in aid.
For spring/summer 2012 Sharon Wauchob — now on her third season for the Edun label, which is also owned by LVMH, created a collection that is manufactured 37 percent in Africa. This statistic and the overall enthusiasm around the Edun collection is a vast improvement from the mood just a year ago, when Edun was back to the drawing board.
The spring collection skillfully mixes iconic floral patterns with traditional African prints, results in a modern, romantic take on tribal. (Note, if our use of the word tribal is politically incorrect in our unbelievably pc world, we apologize but are using verbiage from the company’s press release. Speak to Ali Hewson. )
Striking Indigo dye-patterned pieces resulted from a collaboration with Malian artist Aboubakar Foufana, and gorgeous black crochet dresses and intricate crochet embellishment were rather made by a group of Kenyan artisan nuns known as “the crochet sisters”.
Edun has enjoyed big support from celebrities and activists since its founding. Sitting in the front row at Sunday’s fashion show were (left to right) Musicians The Edge, left, Michael Stipe, second left, and Courtney Love, third left, with models Christy Turlington, fourth left, and Naomi Campbell, center, join musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, right.
Anne of Carversville has followed Edun since its inception: