If anyone knows how to walk the walk, it’s Lily Cole. The British supermodel, actress, and environmentalist has crossed ankles with French ethical footwear label Veja to create a capsule collection of sneakers. Her goal? To raise awareness of wild Amazonian rubber, a renewable material that can provide locals with a source of income without damaging or cutting down trees. Cole, who serves as ambassador for Sky Rainforest Rescue, a partnership between the World Wildlife Fund and the Sky Broadcasting Group to protect one billion trees in the Amazon rainforest, designed a print inspired by the fragility, strength, and vulnerability of the rainforest ecosystem.
“The survival of the rainforest depends on managing its resources,” Cole says. “With all eyes on Brazil this summer, my collection not only taps into the [Spring/Summer 2014] flat shoe trend, but also shows how wild Amazonian rubber can be used to make desirable products for people’s everyday lives. During my trip to the Amazon I was spent time with rubber tappers and got to try out this skilled technique. 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.”
Veja, which launched in Paris in 2004, works directly with cooperatives of Brazilian producers to obtain its organic cotton and wild rubber.
“Veja’s use of wild rubber offers an economic, market driven solution to discourage deforestation on the ground, and allows people all over the world to participate in the protection of the forest through their purchasing choices,” Cole says. The partnership with Sky Rainforest Rescue shines a light on this possibility, whilst empowering more families to rubber tap in the forest.”