Sneakers have become a way of life. They’re now a fashionable staple in just about everyone’s wardrobe. A rather conventional dress looks more modern when worn with sneakers. The same can be said for a tailored suit. My favorite knock around look is trousers with an oversized sweater and, you guessed it, sneakers. They’re well beyond a fad; they’re here to stay. With this popularity comes a vast array of choices. Designers have jumped into it with ultra designed and uber expensive versions. But I have a problem spending upwards of five hundred dollars for sneakers, especially when there are so many great companies that specialize in sneakers. I’m a fan of Axil Arigato and a recent convert to Veja.
I recommended a canvas pair of Veja sneakers in a recent post, and love them, prompting me to look more closely at the company. I thought they were just a cool French company that made great looking sneakers that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I was pleasantly surprised to find out they’re so much more.
In 2005 two French men founded Veja under the premise of building a better sneaker using organic fair trade cotton, naturally harvested rubber and vegetable tanned leather. Their criteria for environmentally friendly materials brought them to Brazil. Next they found factories that pay a fair wages and treat the workers with dignity. Even their distribution centers in France are managed with sustainable and fair business practices. Of course all this costs more than traditional business practices, from the materials on up, yet Veja manages to make a high quality, fair trade product at a competitive price. The Veja founders discovered that a remarkable 70% of the cost of big brand sneakers goes to advertising. They decided to forgo advertising and build a better product their way, and it worked. Great style speaks for itself and even better if it’s doing good in the world.
For the full Veja story click here.