Many people think that protecting the environment is a macro issue that requires actions on a large scale to create significant changes. However, “living green" can start with simpler things: wear a recycled shirt, a handcrafted pair of shoes with sustainable materials, or a “green” handbag.
In recent years, many local brands have opted for more challenging yet meaningful journeys for themselves to bring more positive values to our society and environment. Here are five local brands that fully converge on aesthetics, creativity, innovation, and sustainability to each pair of shoes and set of bags they produce.
Dòng Dòng was founded in 2019 by Kieu Anh, Thao Trang, and Tu Quan. Tu Quan works in financial management, Kieu Anh and Thao Trang are both UX Designers. All three founders met while doing what they love – recycled fashion.
“Dòng Dòng” is the southern pronunciation for the word “vòng vòng,” meaning friends hanging out on the streets on the weekends. Currently, Dòng Dòng has two main product lines: backpacks and tote bags. They also have lovely fanny packs, wallets, and accessories.
Dòng Dòng uses only recycled materials from old tarpaulins. From finding raw materials to manufacturing, processing tarpaulins, delivering goods, and using bags is also recycling. Dòng Dòng is constantly working on replacing small, pre-purchased accessories with recycled materials in the future.
Dòng Dòng usually does not interfere with the material surface of tarpaulin, trying to keep light scratches or color smudges intact. Because only then does the new tarpaulin’s story continue to be told, from the past to the future.
Aesthetics, sustainability, and durability are the three must-haves in all Dòng Dòng products. Although they have the same shape, two bags or purses rarely are the same because each product is selected and cut separately depending on the color of the tarp.
Một was founded in Saigon in early 2018. Một is the first Vietnamese brand to make it to the Top 5 of the UK's Dezeen Awards in 2019 - the annual award recognizes the most impressive and new architectural works from all countries.
In addition to the meaning of a shoe design for all activities of the day - "One for all," Một also represents the Vietnamese lifestyle that will never be lost. The design of Một is towards functionality and aesthetic harmony. Một uses durable materials - 100% cotton canvas, genuine leather, natural linen, and bamboo fiber. Until now, Một is one of the rare brands in Vietnam that masters every process from design, and production to market sales.
From afar, Một's design seems nothing too special, just a simple form. But if you look closely, you will notice the details imbued with Vietnamese identity inside - the old tile roofs in Hoi An, the coastline along the coast of Vietnam, and so on.
Một sold 30 pairs of shoes for the first time "going global" at the Singapore fair. In addition to the sustainable and sophisticated design, the reasonable price is also a factor that helps Một increase its competitiveness with other big brands.
Shoex was founded by Thanh Le - a young entrepreneur who came out of the first season of Shark Tank. This “made in Vietnam” brand was created by environmental responsibility and pure love for Vietnamese coffee beans.
Each Shoex shoe is meticulously handcrafted from three cups of coffee grounds and 12 plastic cups. These shoes are waterproof, able to dry faster, deodorized, and block UV rays. The coffee grounds are collected, dried, and mixed with recycled materials - starch, cellulose, wood, natural resins, waxes, and oils. From there, the resulting coffee blend is bio-based, recyclable, light, has a coffee smell, and looks like dark wood.
Participating in the sustainable cyclical fashion trend does not detract from the aesthetics of Shoex products. Shoex's shoes are fashionable, elegant, smooth, and dynamic. Besides shoes, Shoex also manufactures other coffee-based products such as coffee cups and face masks - products that resonated powerfully during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VND1 million was the starting money for Lam Huy Ngan (Jo) to start Jamlos. Jamlos specializes in manufacturing and supplying products such as tote bags, canvas bags, fashion bags, and more. In the beginning, Jo roamed the fabric markets in the city, touching every fiber to find a suitable canvas material.
Each Jamlos collection has its own story towards the community and society, especially with a strong environmental message, such as the "Dâu Sucks Giấu" collection (hoping every woman will always be confident, happy, and open about their problems), Saigon Hanoi (connecting the two ends of the North and South), and so on.
Jamlos also organizes environmental protection activities like fundraisers for recycling old clothes into new bags, which many young people attend.
Rienevan was founded in 2012 by Nguyen Ngoc Tien in Da Nang with dusty, liberal streetwear style shoes. Starting from a niche market for skateboarders in Da Nang, Rienevan has so far confirmed its position in the Vietnamese sneaker market. Tien has launched the first "Made in Vietnam" skate shoe - designed and manufactured by Vietnamese people.
In addition to focusing on aesthetics, Rienevan also upholds quality by applying advanced E-2 Foam cushioning technology to bring a feeling of elasticity and smoothness to wearers.
Rienevan brings pure Vietnamese symbols into its designs, such as images of Vietnamese women and patterns on Dong Son bronze drums. The cultural heritage of Vietnam is shown in modern and dynamic sneakers.
“Re-new, re-use” is Rienevan's latest sustainable fashion campaign, renewing old shoes and giving them a new life.
Translated by Mi Tran