If we talk about fashion brands whose true objective is to create environmental awareness and promote a change in the habits of buyers, there is no doubt that SAYE stands out among all of them.
Created in March 2018 through a Kickstarter campaign, SAYE is a great example not only for companies that want to create a positive impact on the environment with their products (for each pair of shoes sold they finance the planting of two trees) but also how to create a business with very limited resources and reach the top.
Marta, Lizzie and Damian have managed to change the way people consume within a market as impulsive as that of sneakers. Less is always better.
Let’s start easy, how did SAYE come about? Was it a project that took time to emerge or from the beginning did you hit the nail on the head of what you wanted to do?
Saye emerged in 2018, co-founded by Marta Llaquet, Lizzie Sabin and Damian Augustinyak. The idea was the one that has been maintained until now: create a sneaker brand that plants trees for each pair sold to give something back to the planet from what is invested in creating something new. The company emerged thanks to crowdfunding campaigns through platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo with great success, and now it is maintained without further crowdfunding. It has been growing more and more, now we are a team of more than 20 people and we cover much more than before, but that essence of the beginning remains.
In such a developed and specific market, does a brand that bets 100% on vegan products that respect the environment play with the same cards as its competitors?
No, each company has different cards, but the key is to be clear about how to play them. SAYE's objective is to create sneakers that last for years instead of just one season as is the case with other fast fashion brands, and to promote sustainable consumption that is a vehicle for a change in mentality. This can limit us on the one hand but, on the other hand, it creates a whole new universe in which to play and investigate to position ourselves as leaders in our field.
What would you say to all the people who are gradually becoming pessimistic about the fight against climate change? Are we hopeful? If yes, what/who are they?
We get it, how do you stay optimistic when there are so many factors that make it difficult? The supply crisis, the deterioration in the quality of life, flood forecasts and much more can easily turn us against. For this reason, we work hard to contribute as little as possible to these new waves that are presented to us. The hope that we see is the increasingly critical gaze of both our workers and our community, people are willing to learn, investigate how to buy better, and invest in sustainability.
You emit half the CO2e into the atmosphere than the rest of the sector. Is there more room for improvement?
There is always room for improvement as we are all in continuous discovery. The CO2 emission is measured through the production processes of both our shoes and each of the compositions. We work with factories that are gradually investing more in renewable energies such as solar panels and closed water circuits. The investment that our suppliers make in these systems is getting better and better and we hope that it can represent a greater percentage of the energy they use. Due to the high increase in energy prices such as electricity or gas, this percentage of renewable energy is increasingly playing a more prominent role. Just by using vegan materials we are already saving a lot of CO2 emissions and this is not going to change, but we are working together to make it even less. We see more and more interest on the part of the consumer when it comes to wondering what each of their purchases means and how to invest better when it comes to dressing, and this is one of the main questions.
And as a society, what things can we improve? Not only from an environmental point of view but also socially.
We always have to ask for more. More must be asked, especially from the multinationals, which are the ones with the greatest responsibility. We have to demand more from opinion leaders. We have to be critical and push for what we believe in, both in terms of the environment and social changes.
Million dollar question, how the hell do you make a cactus shoes?
We are committed to innovation in finding new alternative ways of manufacturing shoes and we have already tried with cactus and mango, as in our The Greens Capsule. For the cacti we have worked with a company from Mexico that plant their own cactus harvest and that only use the overripe parts of it to use them for the manufacture of our sneakers but in such a way that we do not have to be planting more and more cacti, respecting harvest times and its ecosystem for a more sustainable work model. It is totally organic, no pesticides are used for these cacti, and ecological since the process of transforming the cactus is drying in the sun and reducing energy needs. We are very proud of this whole process.
An inspiration book. Why? It's not worth just being pretty, right?
We love Fair Fashion, by Marta D. Riezu, because it conveys SAYE's values very well in terms of supporting, as much as possible, a much more sustainable fashion industry in the long term.
Describe us the idea of your perfect day.
A day with sun at 23 degrees, cycling through any city in the Mediterranean, surrounded by the people I admire the most and with live music.
A routine you would stick with for the rest of your life.
Have breakfast reading on my balcony in the sun on Sundays.
The coolest person you've ever met? Of course, we bought the story...
I have so many friends that I admire that I couldn't choose.
In which city would you love to live?
I wouldn't change Barcelona for almost anything, but I wouldn't say no to Berlin in the summer either.
If you met Phil Knight (founder of NIKE) what would you like to say to him?
That I have a couple of ideas to tell him and that I'm sure he has a couple for me too, that he could invite me to something and we'll talk about it, right?
Lately we are short of podcasts, any recommendation?
“Deforme semanal” is my number 1 recommendation because it has everything and Lucía and Isa are guaranteed laughs. But I also highly recommend Radio Primavera Sound's “Queer up your life” to support new voices.
What can we expect from SAYE in the future? We hope a lot!
Lots of news, new faces, innovation in both product and campaigns and strong bets. Silhouettes that we have never seen before are going to enter and we are going to dedicate great care and attention to all our content, so pay close attention to our networks!
You can learn more following @sayebrand