Founded in 2005, Edun is an ethical lifestyle brand intended to encourage trade in Africa, now backed by LVMH. For the spring/summer 2012 collection, designer Sharon Wauchob decided for the first time to take inspiration from Africa. Having avoided it in her previous two seasons, post-show she revealed she'd finally felt the confidence to introduce those references.
It would be easy to get carried away by a strong theme as Africa – plenty of other designers have in the past. Instead, Wauchob carefully mixed traditional African prints with delicate English florals on silk dreses, blouses and pants. Accessories made a nod to the world's second largest continent, with tribal shell, bead, and feather necklaces and dangling earrings, but to keep the look modern, styling was clean and slick. The printed bohemian garments were juxtaposed with boxy, utilitarian jackets and luxe sportswear pieces.
"It would be easy to get carried away by a strong theme as Africa – plenty of other designers have in the past"
One of the most striking aspects of the collection was the use of indigo dye. These dye-patterned pieces which featured throughout the collection, were the result of a collaboration Malian artist Aboubakar Foufana who is known for his work with the ancient hue. His materials are hand-dyed by artisans in Fofana’s workshop using traditional techniques, creating various shades using pigment from a plant indigenous to Mali. The meaning of the colour indigo reflects great devotion, wisdom and justice along with fairness and impartiality.
Another interesting technique, used throughout Wauchob's 37-look collection, was the punched holes in the garments, a favourite technique of Azzedine Alaïa. As well as black crochet dresses and shorts made by a group of Kenyan artisan nuns, Wauchob chose to add gold and silver metallic grommets to jackets, tops, trousers and shorts. Artisan details are key to the label and the addition of eyelets added much needed edge to the bohemian shapes. Grommets are generally flared or collared on each side to keep them in place and are applied using a grommet-setting tool (a metal rod with a convex tip usually sold with the grommets), and a hammer.
The next Fashion Equation will be published in two weeks.
Laura Bradley is the Commissioning Editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.