Why Veja Is Booming — and It’s Not Just Because of Meghan Markle

There’s no doubt that Veja has a hit on its hands with the V-10 sneaker. The French sustainable footwear company, which prioritizes ethical sourcing, transparency and social responsibility, has been spotted on celebrities like Meghan Markle, Emily Ratajkowski and Chloe Grace Moretz — and now its signature style is proving that eco-friendly fashion can stand alongside the biggest names in luxury.

According to fashion search platform Lyst, the V-10 sneaker nabbed third place in its fourth-quarter 2018 ranking of the hottest women’s products on the web, which takes into account metrics including social media mentions, searches, page views and sales. The style was topped only by Gucci’s Soho Disco bag and logo belt — both street-style favorites made by the index’s reigning top designer brand — while the rest was rounded out by luxury sneakers by Balenciaga and Fendi, as well as more affordable options by Ugg, Dr. Martens and Fila.

The sneaker is the first fully sustainable style to make the top-10 list, the site said, though other environmentally-conscious brands, like Allbirds, continue to gain steam.

Veja uses ethically sourced organic cotton for the linings and insoles of its V-10 sneakers, and wild Amazonian rubber for the soles. It offers both vegan and sustainable leather options, with the latter coming from a tannery audited and certified “Gold” by the Leather Working Group.

The company also works with manufacturing cooperatives in Brazil, sourcing and producing the styles locally. Its sneakers are priced from $120 to $195 — somewhat higher than competitors like Nike and Adidas, but clearly, sustainability is a value proposition that’s resonating with customers.

According to Nielsen, almost 70 percent of American consumers say it’s extremely or very important that brands take steps to improve the environment (a figure that goes up to 83 percent when looking at just the millennial cohort), and 38 percent of global consumers say they will pay more for a product that uses sustainable materials.

Of course, the Markle connection doesn’t hurt, either: after the duchess was spotted in a pair of Veja’s sneakers in October, online searches for the brand increased by 113 percent.

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