Diesel held a party with EDUN at The Old Selfridges Hotel in London, in celebration of the Diesel + EDUN collaboration last week. Robin Scott-Lawson from My Beautiful City created a gorgeous exhibition space especially for the party, so it was based around the 12 African talents featured in the campaign.
The collaboration came around because in January 2012, Diesel founder Renzo Rosso and EDUN founders Ali Hewson and Bono, travelled to Uganda and Mali, where they shared their love of the continent and toured each others programs: Diesel’s Only The Brave Foundation project in Dioro, Mali and EDUN’s Conservation Cotton Initiative (CCI) in Uganda. The experience encouraged them to join forces to further apparel trade and development in Africa under the name Diesel+EDUN.
The whole event was streamed by Boiler Room live and featured performances by Romare, Baloji, Spoek Mathambo, Theo Parrish, Batida, Kyle Hall b2b Funkineven, Omar s and Culoe de Song b2b Mosca. Many celebrities attended the event, including Ben Grimes, Ebony Bones, Pixie Geldof, The Feeling, Oliver Proudlock, Rosie Fortescue, Matthew Williamson and more!
The Diesel + EDUN collaboration is a 25 piece denim collection co-designed by Diesel+EDUN. Inspired by African creativity, the collection is entirely sourced and manufactured in Africa with the finest CCI cotton from Uganda.
Using raw, untreated denim, the Diesel+EDUN collection was built around a reinterpretation of the four-pocket jean of the 1970s, popular on the streets of South Africa. Malian textile prints are echoed in the denim lining and across the jersey pieces in the collection. Embroidery details reference traditional Zulu weaving patterns, while the dresses feature Kenyan metalwork. Running through the whole collection are four unique symbols inspired by Dogon culture and designed to reflect the heart of the Diesel+EDUN collection.
At its heart, the Diesel+EDUN collaboration is about trade not aid. It will engage a global audience with the creative passion of its founders to raise awareness of the creative opportunities in Africa and build sustainable trade with the continent through fashion – a global loudspeaker for the new African economic and creative paradigm.
Economic growth, driven by trade and investment, is the critical engine that will end poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. By sourcing CCI cotton from Uganda and entirely manufacturing the collection in Africa, Diesel+EDUN are bringing business to the continent and highlighting to the fashion world the possibility for sustainable trade and creative opportunity in Africa.
To bring the spirit of the collection to life, Diesel+EDUN developed the concept of Studio Africa – a virtual loudspeaker for a new generation of creative talents from across the continent. The campaign features nine artists in fashion, film, music, literature, and photography; individuals with both talent and a deep commitment to their respective countries and people:
Meet the catwalk model running a foundation for the education of orphaned girls in Tanzania; the actor creating opportunities for Senegal’s talib├® beggar children; the fashion designer building an industry in C├┤te d’Ivoire one skilled worker at a time; the musician drawing on Belgian and Congolese roots to challenge what it means to make African music today; the writer from Morocco breaking taboos as the first openly gay author in the Arab world; and the photography collective showing their hometown of Soweto, South Africa in a whole new light. Step inside Studio Africa to find out how the cast members are redefining the future on their own terms.
The Studio Africa campaign will be featured in the top 100 Diesel stores and windows around the world – including Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, and Cape Town, South Africa. Beyond the retail environment, the Studio Africa campaign will come to life through a series of launch events in key international cities in Spring 2013, a digital media campaign, and a global PR campaign.
So what do you think of the Diesel+EDUN collection? It will launch at selected Diesel stores worldwide, Diesel Department Store concessions and corners, select retail accounts and online at diesel.com/diesel+edun from March 2013. Will you be buying any of the pieces? You can see photos from the event, celebs in attendance, some of the collection (which also features dresses and tops) and campaign photos. Comment and let us know what you think!
All images courtesy of Diesel.
Written by Lorna Burford