ecofabulous Exclusive Interview: Ali Hewson
Last week’s opening night for Edun’s Pop-Up Shop at Clary Sage Organics was a huge success – the store was filled to the brim with Bay Area fashion aficionados sipping on wine and sampling eco-conscious skin care products while taking turns trying on Edun’s new Spring Line. Amongst a mad dash for the dressing room (the Hexagon Sweater in African Violet was definitely the talk of the evening!), ecofabulous got a chance to catch up with Edun founder and sustainable fashion visionary, Ali Hewson, to hear a little bit more about the inspiration behind the extraordinary organic clothing line.
1. Tell us a little about your decision to create Edun and the mission behind it.
Edun was founded on the desire to create beautiful clothes with a great story behind them. In Europe and America consumers are asking how their clothes are made…who made them and where? The consumer has become more conscious of the ‘true’ cost associated with clothes manufacturing and they want to know how their hard earned dollars are being spent.
2. What impact has Edun made in the lives of the African people they touch? Why is sustainable farming so important to Edun?
Edun is a small company but we have a big voice. Often people think of the fashion business as superficial… but it has the ability – via sustainable manufacturing – to really change lives. Trade is a major vehicle in the process of lifting millions out of poverty. The continent of Africa accounted for 6% of world trade in 1980 but dropped to less than 2% by 2002. Africans could earn an additional $70 billion in exports each year if its trade share increased by just one percentage point…
With regard to sustainable farming, organic cotton is cotton that’s grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Conventional cotton farming is responsible for approximately 25 percent of the insecticides and 10 percent of the pesticides used worldwide. In fact, producing enough cotton for a single t-shirt requires about a third of a pound of pesticides and fertilizers. 50 t-shirts a day x 0.3 pounds =15 pounds of toxic material!
Organic cotton farming leads to less environmental damage and health risks and also produces useful byproducts like honey and sunflower seeds. Plus, the current high demand for organic cotton means farmers that are growing organically can command a premium.
3. Other than Edun, readers would love to know – what are some of your favorite ecofabulous fashion lines? What do you swear by for eco skin care or cosmetics?
I support any business that is working sustainably whether it’s in fashion, food or cosmetics. I am involved with a natural skin care line called ‘Nude’ which will also be sold at the Edun Pop Up Shop in Clary Sage. ‘Nude’ is a proactive natural skincare range which uses probiotics and prebiotics – the first natural skincare range to actively stimulate the skin. It is getting rave reviews and having used it now for over a year…it really works!
4. What is your biggest challenge in deciding to pursue and commit to a sustainable lifestyle?
It’s hard to be perfect, but that does not mean you stop trying to live as sustainably as possible. As time goes by and businesses act more responsibly the choice for the consumer will be easy! It would be great not to have to check the labels of products and to be able to take for granted that all items for sale are produced sustainably. But for now the consumer has to apply pressure for standards to improve.
5. ecofabulous has been asking green industry leaders, what is your green wish for 2009?
Governments around the world need to introduce legislation related to trading fairly with the developing world. If we believe every human being is equal then we should allow all equal opportunities. There are a lot of protectionist laws that disadvantage many.
6. If you had to give people one actionable item, one thing they could do to make a difference, starting today, what would it be?
BUY LESS but BUY well!
*Photo credit: Naomi Fiss.