New York’s Nolita neighborhood is getting a new resident in sustainably minded footwear brand Veja.
The French footwear brand loved by Meghan Markle and Emma Watson is opening the doors of its first U.S. store, just months after inaugurating a Paris flagship.
Located in lower Manhattan at 205 Mulberry Street, the store will offer “every style and colorway” of Veja sneakers for men, women and kids.
“The chosen location on Mulberry street has a similar feeling to the Parisian neighborhoods that we call home,” Veja co-founder François Morillion said in a statement. “In this shop, we will go beyond retail to launch projects we believe in and help people connect with cool and meaningful initiatives.”
Morillion is referring to the shop’s secondary purpose, which is to serve as a hub, starting in April, for conversations and events related to topics like sustainability, transparency and preventing climate change.
Veja made a conscious decision to weave its signature eco-friendly ethos into the store design, collaborating with local architect Paul Van Der Grient of WXY Studio.
Veja and Van Der Grient decided to preserve the location’s character following the exit of its previous tenant, Creatures of Comfort, a boutique Veja called “one of the best concept stores in New York.” Instead of completely redoing the interior, Veja co-founder Sébastien Kopp wanted to keep the space “rough.”
“It is heartbreaking to see all the materials and furniture that gets thrown away. We think the opposite: the store of the future will be very simple,” Kopp said. “We like to feel the history of the place. For us, a used wooden floor tells a story, and it’s also far more ecological to try to keep everything.”
The space will also feature neon artwork created by Brazilian artist Kleber Matheus, in addition to video displays that describe Veja’s story in detail—educating customers about the shoe-making process and commitments to ethical production, like paying fair wages to its workers.
The store will also be run on 100 percent renewable wind energy supplied by Abest, Veja said.