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Trends Spotlight from RI 2021: How Leaders are Surviving and Thriving by Adhering to Sustainable Practices

For almost two decades, McMillanDoolittle has been tracking cutting edge concepts from around the world. Retail Innovations 2021 includes 50 cases from 15 countries categorized into the following four trends: omni-integration, extreme convenience, extreme experience, and sustainable practices.

The trend we’re spotlighting today is Sustainable Practices. Conscious consumers are a large and growing segment of the population, looking to align with brands and retailers that reflect their values. This mindful consumer is driving an industry-wide shift in favor of brands and products that are adhering to sustainable business practices. The concepts featured in RI 2021 for their excellence in sustainability reflect their responsible practices throughout the entire value chain and are transparent with the consumer about the ways they support their people, the planet, animal welfare, etc.

This week, we are sharing a new concept from France where the physical concept exemplifies the retail brand’s sustainability positioning.


Photo Credit: Veja

Veja X Darwin

Veja is a French footwear brand renowned for their unique design approach and incorporation of economic and social equity initiatives.

On June 25th, 2020, Veja opened a 250m² store in a former military barracks in Bordeaux called Darwin, which has been transformed into a collective of 50 associations and 200 brands seeking to integrate art, trade, culture, and sports under one roof.


Image Source: Fashion United

The Veja x Darwin location has three primary objectives: clean, repair and recycle. In one area of the store called “Cordonnerie Veja” (meaning “Shoe Repair”), worn sneakers are repaired and cleaned, and those in irreparable condition are collected and recycled.  In addition, the concept space stocks prototypes that have never launched, sneakers with minimal defects at reduced prices, and pairs remaining from past collections.

Why We are Inspired. Veja has always prioritized ethically and ecologically grounded principles in their products and this commitment to a higher purpose is carried into the thoughtful design of their stores. The Veja x Darwin store is reimagined in a former (i.e. repurposed) military barracks, and was built using locally sourced wood elements. The space combines powerful storytelling about the product lifecycle and brand and is powered by 100% renewable electricity.

Stay tuned as we continue highlighting examples from each of our four key trend areas. Follow along with us on our blog and our Instagram feed and stories. And if you enjoyed today’s blog, click here to read our thoughts on Nike’s new Re-Creation concept.

Download Your Copy of Retail Innovations 2021 here.

Alyson Fischer

Alyson Fischer is an engagement manager and cross-functional leader with 10+ years of experience helping Global 100 clients tell data-driven stories to elevate the customer experience and inspire dynamic engagement across channels.

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