VEJA, a Parisian trainer brand, are an example of a company who are leading the way with radical supply chain transparency. Along with a selection of well designed, stylish trainers, their website provides information about their material usage, sourcing and production, so the consumer can be informed about the origin of the product they’re buying.
Almost all of the materials used by VEJA demonstrate the ethical nature of the brand. The cotton used in the lining or upper of the shoes is fair trade, originating from farms in northeast Brazil. 97% of the cotton produced by these farms is certified organic, which means the farming process is better for the environment and the cotton producer’s health, as harmful synthetic chemicals are prohibited. The sole of the trainer contains 30%-40% rubber, which is produced sustainably in the Amazon rain forest, the only place in the world where rubber grows naturally. The leather used is vegetable tanned and low chrome, which reduces its environmental impact compared to other methods of leather production, which are often chemically intensive. In addition to this, VEJA do not source leather from the Amazon rain forest, as the biggest cause of deforestation in this location is cattle grazing.
VEJA do not advertise in order to save money, which is invested back into their supply chain. They have controlled production levels so no unnecessary stock is produced and have taken steps to reduce their C02 output regarding the transportation of the products, packaging and power for the head office- all of these steps help to limit their environmental impact.
I purchased the Esplar low leather trainers in white.
The name comes from the Brazillian NGO VEJA works with, who support organic cotton farming families in Brazil. I have found these shoes to be stylish and comfortable after being worn in. The subtle V on the side of the shoe looks slick and they feel very well made. These particular shoes are lined with organic cotton, made with low chrome leather and have a wild rubber sole sourced from the Amazon rain forest. I will definitely be buying from VEJA again in the future based on this purchase, they are the perfect minimal trainer to complete a casual look.
It is refreshing to have such great detail about the product and production process when making a purchase, as many brands do not disclose any of this information, leaving the consumer to assume how the product was sourced and made. The brand admits they are not perfect and are working against their limitations, but it is this level of transparency that is needed across the fashion industry in order to bring about change. Through this approach, consumers can be fully informed regarding what they are buying, meaning that people can make better decisions about the purchases they make and support more ethical and sustainable businesses.
I adore my VEJA trainers. Along with feeling stylish when wearing them, I feel reassured that I have made a good purchase with an ethical company who are demonstrating an alternative way of doing business, setting an example for the rest of the fashion industry.