As our friends over at Feelgood Style have noted, EDUN Apparel, the company founded by Ali Hewson (wife of U2 frontman Bono), isn’t just in the business of making stylish green clothing. The company’s vision includes using trade (rather than aid) to support sustainable community development in the developing world, and encouraging the fashion industry to work with Africa.
The company’s t-shirt division, EDUN LIVE, in partnership with Spike Jonze’s VBS.tv and VICE magazine have created a series of videos presenting the cultural and natural environments around Kampala, Uganda, where a local textile company makes some of the organic cotton t-shirts sold by EDUN.
A visitor to the “Made in Africa” section of EDUN LIVE’s web site could have a hard time choosing where to start. While the company does use some of the videos to reinforce its green and socially responsible cred with a three-part series on Japanese native Yuichi Kashiwada’s organic cotton textile mill, “Made in Africa” goes well beyond company promotion. Videos on the Breakdance Project Uganda at the Sharing Youth Center, and the Uganda Skateboard Union provide glimpses into youth culture in the city. Another features the KCC (Kampala City Cleaners) Football Club, a social welfare program that eventually produced a national championship soccer team. And the three-part “Gorillas in the Midst” takes viewers on a trek through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, with guide Levi and the WWF’s Dr. Richard Carroll, to see the magnificent, and endangered, mountain gorillas.
While the videos work well to bring visitors to the company’s website, they also create a richly textured picture of a part of the world that most Westerners associate with political corruption and violence. The short films don’t shy away from the region’s history of conflict, and the environmental damage that’s accompanied it, but also present sights and sounds of beauty and vibrance. They’re well worth a look… or several.