Bono Moves African FreeTrade Fashion To…China?

He influences world leaders and fans alike on increasing aid to the world’s poorest people, advocating causes like free trade and regularly takes time out from fronting U2 to lobby governments to axe Third World debt. So why is Bono moving his new African fashion line to an indisclosed factory in China?

Bono and his wife Ali Hewson seem to be backing down on their committment to provide jobs and profits to countries in Africa from their clothing line, which they created to “encourage trade with Africa and celebrate the possibilities and the people of the continent.”

But after orders received from Africa turned out to be poor quality, they’ve decided to move about 15% of production over to China, a country with a Communist dictatorship Bono has often critised for their human rights record.

Edun has agreements with farmers in Northern Uganda, with production factories in Tunisia, Tanzania and Kenya. Their mission is to create sustainable clothing and improve the lives of developing nations.

A model wearing an Edun dress. Image: Daily Mail

But the company has already faced a number of problems, with shipments arriving late and retailers complaining about the design and poor fit. After being stocked in hundreds of stores at its peak in 2006, the label is now only carried in 67 stores worldwide. It’s also now unsure what will happen to those workers in Africa.

Hewson once considered shutting the label but struck a deal with an unnamed Chinese manufacturer and sold 49% of Edun to luxury goods company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuiton. It is well known that LVMH produce much of the clothing and accessories of their labels, including Fendi, Givenchy and Donna Karan, in China.

According to reports in the US, almost all of Edun’s clothing that featured at New York Fashion Week this week was made in China, not Africa.

What do you think? Do you find this move disappointing or do you support all of Bono’s initiatives?