Bia Saldanha

Beatriz Saldanha, known as Bia, is a fashion designer, eco pioneer and social entrepreneur. Born in Rio de Janerio, Bia’s long-standing mission is to protect the Amazon rainforests from escalating deforestation.

The fashion designer, owner of the label Cores Vivas, always insisted her company have ecological credentials. Eventually, Bia moved to the Amazon to find a way to help the rubber tapping Seringueiros (the locals who tap the rubber trees) utilize the rubber themselves, without loosing out to industrial production and loosing profit. Bia’s fight is both against deforestations and in support of local farmers.

As well as helping the farmers use and sell the rubber, Bia came up with a solution to make fashion sustainable: ‘vegan leather’ made of wild Amazon rubber. The world took notice and Bia collaborated with an accessories collection for luxury French fashion house, Hermès.

Bia's stuggle has also caught the attention of Lily Allen, who flew out to the Amazon and spent time with Bia helping raise awareness of the increasing deforestation in the region

French trainer brand Veja works with Bia and makes bags and trainers from the rubber in the Amazon. Check out their stylish and sustainable range here

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By Marisa Bate