Rick Owens and Veja have been working for two years on a project that focuses on ecological responsibility. The sustainable sneaker brand tapped the American fashion designer to help design the Veja sneaker, which uses 45 per cent bio-based materials like banana oil, rice husk, natural rubber, and sugarcane.
Founded by Sebastien Kopp and Ghislain Morillion, Veja has built a name for itself making low-impact sneakers in Brazil. Where most shoes are largely plastic, Veja sources all of its raw materials on its own and has taken charge of every step of its supply chain. Veja is so focused on keeping their shoes ecologically responsible, that they don’t invest in advertising at all, which includes not having celebrities endorsing them (though several have been spotted wearing them, including Meghan Markle, Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne). “We spend zero on advertising, which allows us to invest in production. Other brands could be putting it into finding better ecological materials, or better factories, or funding social projects,” says Kopp.
For Owens, it was an easy collaboration to do. “What I did with Veja was not intrusive, because they’ve established a template of what they can do—I didn’t have to ask them to change their materials. It was just choosing colours and materials they already had,” says Owens. Those materials include an L-FOAM cushion that is 50 per cent Brazilian natural rubber. The 3D-knit that covers the shoes is made of recycled plastic bottles. The detail on the sneakers is made from plant-based castor oil materials. The shoes are available in both a Performance Runner and Hiking Style design and come in multiple colourways. The Hiking Style has a “leather” upper that is made from corn waste. Owen’s double back tag, as well as mega lacing detailing, are also included. Prices on these shoes run from €220 to €270.