Ethically-sourced materials. Recycled plastic bottles. Stylish aesthetics. Excellent working conditions. These are the main components of Veja’s sneaker revolution.
“People are often amazed by what we’ve managed to create, but we don’t do a lot, we just connect the dots between amazing projects to create a great sneaker.” – Morillion
Veja is becoming the leading French brand in the world for using eco-friendly materials to produce sneakers that are not only sustainable footwear but also highly fashionable.
Veja first introduced its innovation in 2015 with Sneakers In A Bottle. Their new technology ‘B-Mesh’ (the bottle mesh) uses intelligent fibers, fabric that is waterproof and breathable. The fabrics are fused into Japanese ultra-performance Toyota machines. In Sao Paulo, Brazil, the B-Mesh technology produces a pair of sneakers with only three 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Childhood friends Sébastien Kopp and François Morillion founded Veja just over a decade ago.
“We started Veja in 2004 in a crazy industry we knew nothing about, but we stepped in with humility.” – Kopp
The French duo launched the company with a business model that has an eco-friendly cornerstone at every single stage; sourcing, production cycle, packaging and distribution. This eco-friendly model also extends through to the energy used in the company headquarters in France. The company has opted to use ENERCOOP, a green energy supplier, rather than EDF, the country’s national nuclear supplier.
“We prefer to develop strong roots rather than to grow quickly and become a tall but very fragile tree.”- Morillion
The wild natural rubber latex used to make the soles of the shoes are sourced from local seringueiros in the Amazon Rainforest. For the sneaker’s canvas, harvested organic pieces of cotton are bought at ADEC collective from the north-east of Brazil in Tauá. Moreover, factories near Porto Alegre with excellent working conditions and very high wages assemble the final products for Veja: the company doesn’t use sweatshops, and there is no build up on a stock. Even though the French duo follows the golden fashion rule of ‘relevancy’, they do not pay to advertise their eco-friendly products; they believe in ‘word of mouth.’
The company’s refusal to conform to the generic business norms has gained high praises and support from high-profile individuals as ambassadors such as David Beckham, Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
“We decided to eliminate advertising in order to bring a shoe to market that, at the end of the day, would cost the same price for the customer.”- Kopp
Veja has started to revolutionise the future of the sneakers industry through their innovative principles. We wouldn’t be surprised if they become the next big sneakers brand.