You, Too, Can Dress Like a Rock Star

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By Donna Freydkin, USA Today

"The world does not need another clothing line," U2 frontman Bono pronounces. No sweatshops: Bono, wife Ali and designer Rogan have created the clothing line to reflect "a marriage of social activism and aesthetic innovation."

But the self-described "big-mouth Irish rock star" and his wife, Ali Hewson, are entering the fashion universe with their collection, Edun, co-created with designer Rogan. Edun's earthy but chic duds, which are created from organic materials, are made in family-run factories in South America and Africa with fair-labor practices.

"We're not preaching that we're going to save the planet. But we're doing our best," says designer Rogan, who goes to each factory and meets with workers.

Translation: The $168 jeans and $80 camisole you buy at Saks Fifth Avenue won't be sewn by kids in sweatshops. Edun (nude spelled backward) clothes have personalized details: The jeans, for example, have Rainer Maria Rilke's poems embroidered inside their pockets.

"It's tiny footsteps, small choices," Bono says. "Where you shop, what you buy, the questions you ask. It's a different kind of label consciousness."

Before you roll your eyes at yet another lecture from the politically minded musician, who just joined England's Prime Minister Tony Blair and Microsoft's Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to discuss the problems facing Africa, Bono feels your pain.

"I'm sick of Bono -- and I am Bono!" he says. "But this is our moment, and let's see what we can do. I'm just trying to get value out of my life."

Spending money on himself isn't the answer, he says, before adding with a laugh that he has "only got a few villas in the South of France."

Like Bono, wife Hewson has for years been quietly campaigning for trade in Africa and working with anti-nuke causes. But unlike many attention-hogging rock-star spouses, she has stayed behind the scenes; Edun is her first foray into the spotlight.

Hewson, a woman so low-key that at the start of this interview she asks whether anyone needed water and immediately offered to get it, is still not used to the focus being on her.

"It's going to be interesting," she says. "In Ireland, I'm fairly well known, but not here, which has been good. But I think we've just blown that."

Working with her husband has "been fun," she says, shooting him an amused glance. (The couple have four children: daughters Jordan and Eve and sons Elijah and John Abraham.)

Bono, despite his signature shades and slick rocker cool style, was never a fashion trailblazer. "I bumped into the fashion industry in a rock 'n' roll band, and I wasn't very fashionable, really," he says. "I'm the man who brought you the mullet."

So, will U2 be wearing Edun clothes on their upcoming world tour, which kicks off in San Diego on March 28 and runs through December? Bono isn't sure yet, but U2 guitarist Edge "has been wearing Rogan's stuff, anyway," Bono says.

The band's concert T-shirts, however, will be made by Edun.

Says Bono: (Drummer) "Larry Mullen is hard to please in terms of quality, and for years, rock 'n' roll bands have been putting out T-shirts that fall apart, and we've always had good-quality shirts. So we had to prove to the band that this was better quality than what we're used to, and we did."

Copyright 2008 USA TODAY

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on March 13, 2005 9:47 AM.

Ethical Culture was the previous entry in this blog.

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