The idea for Veja was born in 2005 by two French men who were visiting a factory in China following an audit for a French fashion brand. They realized, first-hand the massive human rights injustices taking place in the factories that produce the clothing worn and enjoyed throughout the world and were compelled to help make a change. After returning to Paris, they decided to recreate a commonly used product from the ground up: incorporating only sustainable, fair trade, and transparent means at each step of the way, and implementing programs for social good wherever possible.
The two men developed a system that accomplished just this, and it is responsible for the creation of the Veja collection of sneakers – which is as high style and of impeccable quality, as it is thoughtful. They start with natural rubber harvested from the Amazon for the base of their shoes, then use Brazilian organic, agro-ecological cotton (ordered and paid in full prior to harvest), B-mesh which is entirely made from discarded plastic bottles picked up from the streets of Rio and Sao Paolo, or leather tanned through a natural, vegetal process for the upper.
The shoes are assembled in a factory in Porto Alegre which is a developed region with strong social rights values (similar to those of Europe) – the workers work reasonable hours and 82% of them are unionized.
The fourth step of the process for Veja is back in Paris, where the team works with a social reintegration organization which serves as it’s logistics provider – receive the containers, storing the sneakers, taking care of the online store and dispatching the shoes all over the world.
“We decided to make sneakers because this product is a symbol for our generation and our era. It’s also a product that crystallizes the major issues of globalization through its production, dissemination, and usage.”
In Portuguese, VEJA means ‘look’.
“In our minds, it means look through your sneakers, look what’s behind.”