Travel is an emotional experience; a process of self-discovery. It has also been a defining value of Louis Vuitton for over 150 years.
In more recent years, Louis Vuitton has also established itself as one of the world’s leading fashion houses. In this way, we communicate in two different but complementary ways: with seasonal fashion statements and a long-term campaign about the company’s core values.
To convey the core values message, Louis Vuitton has featured personalities of extraordinary stature throughout the years. Mikhail Gorbachev, Catherine Deneuve, Keith Richards and Sean Connery are but some of the figures who have been captured by renowned portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz. With this new addition, we welcome one of the world’s most influential stars, Bono, and his wife Ali Hewson, honoring the tremendous work they do through Edun in Africa.
Ali Hewson and U2-vocalist Bono – founders of Edun – are the latest modern icons to be photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Louis Vuitton’s Core Values advertising campaign, shot in Africa in March of this year.
Antoine Arnault, head of communications at Louis Vuitton, comments: “We are delighted that both Ali and Bono, who have never before participated in an advertising campaign, agreed to be photographed for Core Values. We are very proud of our association with Edun.”
The image, portraying Ali and Bono walking in a vast landscape, reflects the couple’s long relationship with Africa. Both are long-term campaigners in the fight against extreme poverty and in 2005 they founded the ethical clothing label Edun to encourage trade with Africa and to highlight the possibilities for the fashion community to do business there. In 2009, LVMH, in line with its long-standing commitment to sustainable development, acquired a 49% stake in Edun in order to promote more widely the brand’s positive vision of responsible trade.
Louis Vuitton / Edun Monogram Revalation Bag with Masai Bag Charm
For the Core Values campaign, both Ali and Bono wear Edun clothing. Ali carries a Louis Vuitton/Edun collaboration bag. This collaboration bag is a brown Keepall 45 in Louis Vuitton’s embossed Monogram Révélation leather. The bag is accessorized with a Monogram charm hand-crafted in Kenya by Made, a fair-trade fashion accessory company which strives to provide employment and promote ethical trade in Africa. Made regularly partners with Edun. Both the charm and the inside of the Monogram Révélation bag bear a plaque with the inscription “Every journey began in Africa.” Along with his guitar case, Bono carries a waterproof Keepall travel bag in Monogram canvas. Proceeds from the sale of the Louis Vuitton/Edun collaboration bag will go to TechnoServe in Africa for the Conservation Cotton Initiative and related programs. Ali and Bono’s fee for the shoot will go to both TechnoServe in Africa for the Conservation Cotton Initiative and related programs and to Chernobyl Children International. Edun founder Ali Hewson says, “We want Edun to be a success because the more it grows, the more we can do on the ground.”
U2 vocalist and activist Bono says, “Ali has worked hard to build Edun from scratch, and thanks to LVMH’s commercial muscle and support, this fledgling company can go from strength to strength – which means increased business for our partners in developing countries.”
Louis Vuitton for Edun
Edun is a for-profit fashion company that was launched in 2005 by Ali Hewson and Bono. It aims to raise awareness of the possibilities in Africa and encourage the fashion community to do business there. Edun was founded on the premise of trade for aid as a means to create jobs and alleviate poverty.
To help achieve this goal of offering business, not charity, Edun invests in the development of a community-based value chain in Uganda, beginning with conservation cotton. In 2007, the company launched Edun Live, a blank t-shirt division that is 100% “grow to sew” African produced, using locally sourced cotton.
The first step in creating the t-shirts is providing education and training to farmers to grow and market cotton–the goal of the Conservation Cotton Initiative (CCI) in Northern Uganda. CCI was created by Edun and the Wildlife Conservation Society in order to build sustainable farming communities and offer farmers a fair trade market for their cotton. CCI has further teamed up with Invisible Children to execute local education and outreach programs in Northern Uganda, which is recovering from a violent Civil War that lasted over 20 years.
In 2009, Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton took a substantial stake in Edun. Louis Vuitton shares Edun’s values of respect for the environment, employees, suppliers and communities. And as part of its contribution, Louis Vuitton has created a special edition Keepall 45 travel bag in new debossed Monogram leather and a handcrafted Monogram flower bag charm and will donate a percentage of sales of these items to CCI.
To further celebrate the creative potential of Africa, Louis Vuitton is hosting a temporary exhibition from October 5 – 17, 2010, at 1 rue du Pont Neuf in Paris.
In addition to Edun clothing and Louis Vuitton’s special edition travel bag and charm, this exhibition will feature contemporary African artwork from the renowned Jean Pigozzi collection, along with an interactive display of photographs and behind-the-scenes video of the Louis Vuitton Core Values shoot. It will tell stories of African culture and savoir-faire and bring together the hope, promise and energy of a very special collaboration.
Making of Ad Campaign
Image via Louis Vuitton