Ireland is a small island at the westerly edge of Europe, with a troubled colonial and post-colonial past and an economy currently on life support. Being Irish is complex. Brendan Behan (Irish Playwright 1923 -1964) said “Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis.”
Bono (Paul Hewson) is one of a handful of Irishmen who have a global presence. As well as his day job as a rock star he has campaigned for debt forgiveness for beleaguered African nations.
Edun is the clothing brand founded in 2005 by Bono and his wife Ali. The label is committed to encouraging African trade. It has not been plain sailing the brand has posted big losses. Two things may change the fortunes of Edun. Firstly talented Irish designer Sharon Wauchob is now at the helm. Secondly LVMH purchased a 49% stake in the company. I am not sure that LVMH hovering up, as it has, so many brands is necessarily a good thing. However in this case it enables Edun to survive and hopefully thrive. According to the Edun website “The company actively works to increase trade with Africa and by 2013 Edun predicts that at least 40% of its fashion collection will be African produced.”
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. One of the things which makes me proud to be Irish is when my famous fellow countrymen or countrywomen choose to use the influence which that fame brings for the greater good. Kudos to the Hewsons.
Kudos also to Bob Geldof a tireless campaigner for Africa – The Hewsons’ interest in Africa was ignited when Sir Bob invited Bono to perform at the Live Aid concert in 1985.
Happy St Patrick’s Day.