French footwear company Veja doesn’t just make shoes, they make statements. Using some of the greenest footwear materials on the planet – including wild Amazonian rubber, organic and fair-trade cotton, vegetable-tanned leather, and tilapia-skin waste – the shoes combine sustainability with modern, minimalist lines and an understated aesthetic that travels well even in rarified fashion circles. Launched in 2004 by a pair of then 25-year-olds, Veja is also keen to innovate, with the newest addition its collect, a Bottle mesh textile made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. According to Veja, it takes about three plastic bottles to create a single pair of shoes.
Produced in Rio de Janeiro using high-performance machines from Toyota, B-Mesh now accounts for 30 percent of Veja’s current line. It’s a number that Sébastien Kopp, Veja’s co-founder, only expects to grow. Although the textile is roughly 10 times more expensive to manufacture, B-Mesh is flexible, waterproof, yet breathable—just what a running shoe calls for.
Veja’s next step is addressing its shoes’ end of life. “Right now, we’re working on applying a cradle-to-cradle model, where one product becomes another that becomes another that becomes another with a minimum energy footprint,” Kopp said. Take a look at their site for more shoe styles.
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