Under some train tracks in an outside alley in Chelsea, Sharon Wauchob debuted her first collection for Edun. Edun is, of course, the eco-label founded by Ali Hewson and her famous husband. You know who it is. He sings in a band. He wasn’t there. (Gavin Rossdale was, however.)
Edun has been plagued by some inconsistency issues since its inception in 2005. After a big welcome from retailers in the beginning, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that Edun was carried at only 67 stores worldwide, down from hundreds at its heyday in 2006. The company floundered further after creative director Rogan Gregory left in 2007 and the industry as a whole was hit by the recession.
Enter LVMH, who purchased 49% of the company in 2009. Sharon Wauchob was hired as creative director, and most of the company’s production was moved to China after retailers complained about the quality of the garments coming from African facilities. Ali told the WSJ, “It’s a fashion company. That needs to be first and foremost.” Some t-shirts, denim, and jewelry will still be produced in Africa, and the company is hoping to increase African production in the future.
My experience with Edun is limited to a ratty (my fault, not the label’s), yet very soft, graphic t-shirt that I have probably had since 2006. I went in with high hopes for this collection. After picking my way across the dusty gravel runway, I watched with crossed fingers as the gorgeous Jac opened the show.
Loose white cotton shirts and shirt dresses were adorned with short fringe. Lots of loosely tailored neutral layers and a relaxed camel trench coat added to the easy vibe. The breezy silk dresses, by far the best pieces in the collection, came in lengths from mini to maxi. The intricate black and white prints wowed me; they were subtly tribal and throroughly gorgeous. The chunky platform shoes with softly rounded soles were fantastic and seemed wearable, though at least three models stumbled while taking the turn at the top of the runway. Luckily the girls recovered with their stance and dignity intact. I’m blaming the gravel.
The men’s pieces were equally as soft, and bordered on looking downright tribal, with lots of olive and some surprising macramé details. The braided and beaded leather neck pieces were unique and added to the authenticity of the collection.
The aesthetic was clear, the collection was cohesive, and Edun may finally be on terra firma.