Natural Living

By Irene Fogarty

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Britney does it. Beyonce does it. Even Christina Aguilera is doing it, despite the fact she criticized other celebrities for such a “tacky” act. We’re talking about those over-exposed pop stars who launch their own clothing line. As if they need another career to add to their long list of occupations: singer, actress, model, fragrance founder, and now fashion designer. Isn’t it a pity that they can’t stick to one thing. Hell no. Why have platinum records when you can have platinum clothes that your fans can pay big bucks for just to look and dress like you. And if P. Diddy and J. Lo can make millions doing it, why can’t others jump on the fashion bandwagon?

“The world does not need another clothing line” -Bono

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Thankfully, there’s a new clothing line that has unquestionably famous roots but has its threads in the right place. It’s called EDUN (“nude” backwards with heavenly biblical connotations) and its evolution is one that is strikingly different than anything currently out there. Born as an alternative approach to creating beautiful clothes in a respectful manner, EDUN’s frontman is Bono, or rather Bono’s beautiful wife, Ali Hewson. The other key player, Rogan, is a well-respected designer with his own organic and ethically-driven clothes line.

I remember when I graduated from UCD, ( University College of Dublin), Ali, then married to Bono, was also graduating with a Bachelor’s in Arts (hers was Economics/Politics, mine English Lit). She is someone I have admired for some time now. This low-key rocker’s wife and mother of three has always appeared uncomfortable when the focus is on her. Yet she’s every bit as political and ethically-conscious as her husband. And unlike other tree-hugging, attention-hogging rock-star spouses, she has been campaigning for trade in Africa and working with anti-nuclear campaigns for many years.

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So even when EDUN was launched earlier this year, Ali reserved the spotlight for her husband. “Bono’s biggest impression of the Africans is that they don’t want charity, they want trade,” Hewson says. “They have pride, they’re very dignified people. They want to work. This company (EDUN) is a business model that other people can follow.” (Why am I suddenly reminded of heartfelt lyrics like, “They took your life. They could not take your pride.”)

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Threads with a cause
Committed to the lives of the people who help to make the brand’s vision a reality, EDUN’s garments are designed at factories in Lima, Peru, and Monastir. In essence, the line is about building a business while creating jobs in developing areas. Production of the Fall selection will extend to Lesotho, South Africa, and Tanzania in East Africa.

And the “sweetest thing”?
There are lots of cool things about this clothing line. Apart from the humane reasons behind its origin, the clothes themselves are simply beautiful. They remind me of the French line, Antik Batik, whose sensual and delicate touches are so subtle they’re almost overseen. For example, the romantics among us will love the poetry that is embroidered on the inside of the jeans’ pockets. (“I think you should always have a poem in your pocket,” said Bono, pointing to his, by German writer Rainer Maria Rilke). And the T-shirts that are made with traditional Incan vegetable dyes. They seem so organically put together, you can feel good – spiritually good – about squeezing into your favorite jeans. Can you really say the same about all those other low-rise, boot-cut, “bootiful,” stressed denims in your closet?

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But the sweetest thing of all, EDUN keeps the clothing line business a positive story by refuting the notion that marginalization and the “race to the bottom” are the necessary costs of doing business. Couple that with the fact that the clothes themselves are works of art, and EDUN deserves to be respected for its honorable origins, aesthetic qualities and progressive goals for the future.

As an Irish person who grew up with the talented, politically motivated crooner, I’m proud that Bono and his wife have taken their “celeb status” to more meaningful, enriching levels. A venture that will change the lives of people in countries who have never heard “One”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” or any other U2 mega-hit.

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Finally, there’s a fashion label that really rocks. Now let’s just hope they carry 36″ length for those vertically challenged denim-lovers like me.

EDUN clothing can be found in SAKS Fifth Avenue, Barney’s New York, Selfridges, and for “Paddy’s,” in good old Brown Thomas on Grafton Street.

Check out the wonderful website, www.edun.ie

Salt and Pepper Edamame

1/8 cup kosher salt
1 pound (fresh) edamame
Cook edamame in salted boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes, and immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking.
Drain in a colander and pat dry.
Toss edamame with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve with remainder on the side.

Originally published June 2005
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