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The Rise Of Veja, From Emma Watson To Meghan Markle

by: Rosie Dalton | 1 year ago | Features

Image: Meghan Markle wearing Vejas in Australia. Image source.

Veja is one of the most progressive modern fashion brands that we know of, so it is little surprise that the French-based, Brazil-made brand has quickly become the go-to for ethical sneakers around the world. Everyone from Emma Watson to Meghan Markle has been spotted wearing Vejas, which are made in a transparentfair and sustainable supply chain. But how did this all come about and what is the story behind Veja's metoric rise?

According to the brand's co-founder Sébastien Kopp, it began with he and his business partner François-Ghislain Morillion travellng to countries like China, South Africa and India. This brand research left them feeling disappointed with what they saw in terms of supply chain management. “We saw that sustainable development was treated as a side project; it was not integrated into the business,” Kopp told Clare Press on her podcast Wardrobe Crisis.

“The thing we saw, if there was one conclusion [to be made], is that the environment, social welfare and happiness of the workers were never integrated into the business. And we thought the business of the future would be to care about the planet and the people." So Kopp and Morillion chose sustainable sneakers as a means to that end. Because sneakers can be worn by 3-year-olds and 80-year-olds alike. And, once you eradicate the high cost of advertising in this product category (as Veja has done), then you can create a product that is much more cost-effective – and actually has a positive impact on people and the planet.

By paying workers fairly for their work and supporting sustainable farming methods for their products, Veja is helping to ensure that we will still have the resources that we need to keep creating fashion in the future. In Brazil’s economically disadvantaged state of Ceará, for example, Veja supports the employment of 320 families. These families live off organic farming, not just through employment access, but also as a way to grow their own food. And the increased use of organic farming methods in this region – rather than its chemical-laden conventional alternative – has resulted in both better soil biodiversity and better health for the local community.

Image: Emma Watson wearing Vejas. Image source

In addition to this, Veja works closely with ADEC (Associação de Desenvolvimento Educacional e Cultural) – an association of growers located in Tauá, Brazil. Through this association, producers can pool their harvests into one warehouse, which means minimising cotton transformation costs by working together. “Working directly with ADEC has allowed Veja to establish a seamless, human-based business model that avoids middlemen and makes sure that reasonable profits go directly to the producers themselves,” the brand explains. It is a model that also involves negotiating an agreed-upon cotton price per kilo and providing a fair trade premium on top of this, to cover the cost of official certifications and help improve the producers’ standard of living.

With such an inspiring approach to modern business, then, it makes sense that Veja has caught the eye of ethical fashion advocates like Emma Watson – who showed hers off to The Coveteur – and Meghan Markle – who wore hers to watch the Invictus Games in Australia. But it's not just ethical fashion advocates that Vejas have caught on with. In fact, these ethical sneakers are quickly taking over the world and wardrobes of men and women alike – all without advertising. Which just goes to show the power of good ethics.

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