Yes, you read that right.
French footwear brand Veja has been one of Meghan Markle’s shoe choices during her Australian royal tour this month. The Duchess of Sussex and husband Prince Harry stepped out for an Invictus Games sailing event on Oct. 21 in Sydney wearing matching windbreakers, and Markle paired her casual look with Veja low-top trainers.
It’s not a surprise that Markle chose these sneakers as they are made from sustainable leather, organic cotton and wild rubber from the Amazonian forest. Ever since she has embarked on the Australian trip, Markle has seemingly made a conscious choice to wear environmentally friendly brands, including Rothy’s, Stella McCartney and Reformation.
However, what does come as a surprise was the fact that the Veja founders didn’t know who she was.
“It was a funny moment, because when we saw the photo, the whole Veja team mocked us because we didn’t know who Meghan was,” said Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion. “We’re not very focused on celebrities, but once we figured out who Meghan is and what she represents, we thought it was super cool.”
When images of Markle in the V-10 leather trainers emerged, the label’s Instagram “broke down,” receiving thousands of likes and comments, according to the company. Most posts average between 1,000 and 3,000 likes and the photo with Markle garnered over 20,000.
While it might seem almost impossible that the Veja founders wouldn’t know who Markle was, it’s not totally outrageous. The company has a no-ad policy and they don’t pay people to wear their shoes.
“Seventy percent of the cost of a normal big sneaker brand is related to advertising. So, eliminating ads, marketing costs, doing away with brand ambassadors and billboards means we can invest in our employees, our materials, our factories and, therefore, our planet. It means we can focus on the production chain and how to change it,” Kopp and Morillion explained.
Ethical fashion is at the forefront for the founders, who commemorated its fifth anniversary in April. Veja works closely with cooperatives of small producers in Brazil, endeavoring to support local communities while using upcycled and sustainably produced materials. Models featuring B-Mesh, a material used by Veja, is made from recycled plastic bottles as well.
“The future of fashion is in the public’s hands and they have the power to demand better standards with their purchases. Regardless of intention, buying sneakers that have been produced in a way that respects the environment and humankind helps create change in the industry,” they said. “We believe conscious consumerism will lead us in the right direction, but next we need further action from the fashion industry. It’s up to brands to require more transparency in factories and the supply chain, fair treatment of their workers, and raw materials that are better for the environment.”
Other celebrity fans include Emma Watson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Marion Cotillard.
Click through the gallery to see all of the shoes Markle has worn this month on her royal tour.