Earlier this morning, in the Garden of the Hoxton Hotel, I met with the teams from WWF UK and Sky Rainforest Rescue for the unveiling of Lily Cole’s fabulous new limited edition shoe collection for the French ecological brand Veja.
Lily’s involvement in the design of these canvas trainers is deeply rooted in her passion for the environment. Having visited the Sky Rainforest Rescue project area in the Amazon in Brazil in 2012, she captured photographs of the wildlife, birds, plants and insects, all of which depend on the rainforest eco-system, and carefully selected her favourites to apply to the ‘Taua’ design. The only creature that features on the shoes that was not captured on film by Lily, is a small dinosaur that represents the possibility of extinction, a future that both the WWF and Sky Rainforest Rescue are working to prevent through the work they both do.
But there’s much more that just aesthetics to these shoes. Veja uses Amazonian wild rubber to make the soles of all its footwear, and buys the rubber at a price that guarantees a better income for the rubber tappers.
In this short video which was shot in the Eden project in Cornwall and right here in London, you can watch Lily talk about her experience in the Amazon, her inspiration for the shoe design and why she is so passionate about the preservation of the rainforest.
I also learned today that Sky recently helped secure contracts for remote rubber tapping communities in Curralhino and Parcque das Ciganas, deep in the rainforest and by helping local people make a better living from harvesting and selling wild rubber and other sustainable rainforest products, it is possible to reduce the need to deforest and keep the rainforest intact – something I think we all hope for in both the short and long-term.
Through the sale of these gorgeous shoes, £10 will be donated by Sky for every pair sold. That £10 will ensure that a rubber tapper will be able to tap 6 more trees, keeping the rainforest that they grow in standing and helping to support their livelihood. So, if you’re keen to pick up a pair to look fabulous and feel great, you’ll be pleased to hear that the collection went on sale today in Selfridges (London; Manchester), Topshop (Oxford Street, London) and online at http://www.veja-store.com. Prices start at £55 for low top trainer known as Veja Taua Amazon in Oxford Grey and go up to £65 for the mid top trainer Veja Taua Mid Amazon in Clementine and Nautico.
Finally, looking at the longer term vision for the project, Lily is considering how to continue and scale the project for the future. If you have a great idea let me know and I’ll make sure to pass it on to the WWF and Sky Rainforest Rescue teams.