by Stephanie Block

God save us from celebrities and their clothing lines! That’s what Bono himself said at the San Francisco launch of his new clothing line, Edun, which as you probably heard, is “nude” spelled backwards.

What is also nude about Edun is the transparency of the production process. Gone are the tainting whispers of third world sweatshops and hegemonic trade agreements that favor the priveleged. No vultures of international commerce lurk here in the Garden of Edun.

The label is proud to promote fair trade, sustainable development, social activism, and organic agriculture. There are four tenets of respect found on each clothing tag, which post prices from $60 to $300. These are apples of knowledge that Bono wants you to pluck—respect for who makes the clothes, where they’re made, what they are made of, and who wears them.

Bono said, “My own African friends asked me if this was philanthropy or commerce. When I said it was trade, not aid, they go, Thank God.”

You may say he’s a dreamer, but Bono imagines a future world full of conscious consumers where shoppers celebrate the political statement each dollar makes. “People want power in their pocket,” said Bono. And yes, Bono wants your “votes,” but think of his clothing line as a campaign, and your Edun shopping bags as lobbyists for change. You’re not wearing pants—you’re wearing a platform whose call the rest of the manufacturing world should heed.

Now what do the clothes look like? These super casual styles are not what you’d call glam rock. Simplicity and modernity rule designer Rogan’s signature understated style. Of course you’re thinking—hey, he was hand-picked by Bono—he couldn’t be that understated…

What the brand lacks in va-va-voom it makes up for in cachet. A new celebrity label in its first season? Who can resist proving their cool by snatching up an Edun logo tee with its whirly Celtic aesthetic?

Another first-time Edun launch is of Bono’s Mrs., Ali Hewson, into the public eye. She held her own amidst the body guards and television cameras that are doubtless part of her daily life, like cooking up meat pies and worrying about the decline of trade with Africa.

“She promised to help me with Edun if I stayed out of the fashion business,” joked Bono, standing on Saks’ little stage next to his wife. “After all, this is the man who brought you the mullet.”

Edun’s bottom line is that every garment has a story, and we all need to ask ourselves whether the clothes on our backs tell a story with which we want to be associated. As in, you are what you wear. Finally, we can shop smart and look smart at the same time.

(And if you must know, places Bono enjoyed in San Francisco included Sunday morning services at Glide (, a bite at Il Fornaio, and coffee at Tosca.)

Edun is available at Sak’s Fifth Avenue (

Photos courtesy of Chris Lierle