Veja’s new vegan sneaker is plant-based and biodegradable

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© Mario Simon Lafleur (used with permission) No more pleather: The Parisian shoe brand proves that vegan style can be sustainable, not just ethical. Veja is a French shoe company that has been trying to make shoe production more ethical and eco-friendly since its inception fourteen years ago. It has done an impressive job, sourcing organic cotton directly from farmers in Peru and Brazil, experimenting with alternative materials such as tilapia skin and silk, using chrome-free suedes and leathers, as well as wild rubber harvested by a cooperative of small producers in the Amazon. But offering a vegan option has remained a challenge for the brand. While it’s easy to churn out a plastic shoe and call it vegan, that would seem like a cop-out to a brand like Veja, that cares about the lasting impact of its footwear. As co-founder Sébastien Kopp told Fast Company , "Replacing leather with plastic does not sound like a good solution to us." Indeed, this is a serious problem within the vegan fashion industry that I’ve written about before – that vegan claims are often made at the cost of the environment. To quote Dory Benami, co-owner of artisanal footwear brands Fortress […]

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