The French sneaker label Veja has opened its first Test Hub, Veja x Darwin, in Bordeaux to clean, repair and recycle old Veja pairs. In the cobbler’s workshop worn pairs of sneakers are repaired and cleaned. Shoes that can no longer be repaired due to their poor condition are collected and recycled. In addition, Veja offers its local customers Veja prototypes, which are otherwise not brought to market, sneakers with minimal production faults at reduced prices and pairs from older collections for sale.
The cobbler’s workshop is located on the 90,000 m2 site on the Quai des Queyries, a former military barracks. The complex, called Darwin, was opened in 2007 by Philippe Barre. Barre’s vision was to renovate the former barracks and transform it into an alternative place of encounter. Today, Darwin is home to 50 associations and 200 companies and brings together art, commerce, culture, work and sport under one roof. These include an urban farm, an XXL skate park, rooms for graffiti artists, an organic food shop and the organic restaurant Le Magasin Général. In recent years, Darwin has also taken in refugees.