English model, actress, and Sky Rainforest Rescue ambassador Lily Cole has recently collaborated with the French accessory brand Veja in an effort to combine sustainable fashion with Amazonia preservation.
Cole has designed three new pairs of colorful shoes for Veja’s Taua line, which were inspired by her recent trip to the Amazon. The patterns on the shoes were sketched directly from the photos she took of the rainforest’s abundant wildlife and plants, including hummingbirds, butterflies, and ferns. The occasional dinosaur figures spotted on the shoes though were of course not found during her trip–she told Veja that she wanted to put them in to “reference to the fragility and impermanence of the other living creatures we might take for granted.”
Cole chose to work with the eco-friendly shoe company Veja due to their commitment not only to green practices on their end by using 100% renewable energy sources at their headquarters, but also to naturally sourced rubber for their shoes. The latex rubber (initially a milky substance) is tapped from the abundant rubber tree found in the Amazon, which doesn’t harm the tree or the Amazon’s ecosystem–making it an ideal win-win situation for the workers, consumers and the environment.
Veja also hopes to combat the unfortunate financial attractiveness linked to deforestation practices like clearcutting by providing fair wages and competitive compensation for the Seringeiros (rubber tappers). Veja currently works with 60 Seringeiro families that live in the Acre state of Brazil to harvest the liquid rubber of a rubber tree. They also transform it into a semi-finished product using a new technique called Folha Desfumada Liquida (Liquid Smoked Sheet), which converts the thick goo into rubber sheets; doing a lot of the processing themselves allows the Seringeiros to receive a higher income. The shoes themselves are also assembled in Brazil before they’re shipped by boat to the stores in France.
The WWF/Sky/Veja partnership is an eloquent collaboration combining ecological conservation with fair trade practices to show that green businesses are not only good for the environment, they’re also good for humanity. The Taua rainforest sneakers are available online at Veja’s stores and for every pair sold, £10 will be donated to Sky Rainforest Rescue to continue rainforest preservation efforts. And with their #TapForTrainers campaign, Sky Rainforest Rescue hopes to reach the fashion-forward younger audiences on Instagram by featuring painted rainforest tiles that users can click on to learn more about the Amazon.