Lily Cole is showing that wearing sneakers can not only be stylish but good for the environment, too. The English model has partnered with the French eco brand Veja to release a new line of sneakers made with fair trade work and without destroying the rainforest.
The sneakers come in three different styles, feature Amazon inspired designs, and are made with wild Amazon rubber. The Brazilian rainforest is the only place on the planet where rubber trees grow in the wild. Their sap is known as “liquid latex” and can be extracted by tapping the tree instead of cutting them down.
“The survival of the rainforest depends on managing its resources,” explained Cole of her shoe line, which uses that tapped sap to make its soles. “With all eyes of Brazil this summer, my collection not only taps into the SS14 flat shoe trend, but also shows how wild Amazonian rubber can be used to make desirable products for people’s everyday lives.”
The tree tappers are paid fairly so it is in their interest to keep the trees standing. This is part of the Sky Rainforest Rescue, a partnership with WWF, to protect one billion trees in Brazil. Cole is an ambassador for Sky and visited the Amazon rainforest in 2012.
“During my trip to the Amazon, I saw firsthand the crucial part that Sky Rainforest Rescue plays in creating demand for wild Amazonian rubber for companies like Veja, and making the rainforest worth more standing,” she said.
The limited edition sneakers will be sold online and at English retailers Selfridges, in London and Manchester, and Topshop, on Oxford Street. Prices range between £55 and £65 and £10 of every pair sold will be donated to the Amazon tappers, equipping them with six more taps and allowing them to keep those trees standing.
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