Behind the Scenes with

Exploring the 'Made to Order' approach.

Freiraum is regularly presenting new brands to you which aim to change the world of fashion in a more sustainable way. To help you find the brands you want to support, we created sustainability icons. The 'Made to order' approach indicates that the product you bought, will be specifically manufactured for you. The production model supports the reduction of unnecessary waste and overproduction. This is why, DiVERGE is one of our favourite sneaker brands. Co-founded by João Esteves and Maria Neves, the fashion brand does not only focus on responsible production and consumption but also initiated a social impact program for young people to improve their employability skills and promote social inclusion.

DiVERGE aims to create shoes that are produced with exceptional dedication. The brand states: “We believe the path to sustainability is an ongoing journey that requires continued investment but also innovative thinking and we believe the shoe making industry in Portugal has unique skills but needs to embrace a future that will require a different set of capabilities.”

DiVERGE offers various timeless sneaker designs which you can customize according to your taste. The label uses premium Italian leathers assuring great quality and durability. Handcrafted by family owned workshops in Portugal, the sneakers maintain the highest quality standards to last a long time. Being aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations General Assembly, DiVERGE promises you to produce efficiently, avoiding Co2 emissions, and supporting the community through a fair and ethical business. The production process linked to the 'made to order' principle might take a little bit longer for you to receive the final result, but remember that the sneakers of your dreams have been made especially for you. Additionally, it avoids unnecessary waste and significant ecological footprints.

Every individual deserves equal opportunity in education to reach their full potential and contribute to a better tomorrow. However, needed skills and competences are not always made available in underserved and underprivileged communities.

That is why the DiVERGE founded IMAGINE, an educational program for young people between 16-24 years who are at risk of being socially excluded. Regarding the program, each participant joins courses in entrepreneurship and communication. Here, they have the opportunity to tell their story to the world by creating their own sneakers and launch a micro-business with DiVERGE. Throughout the program, they are guided by a mentor, developing important soft-skills and increase self-awareness. If you want to know more about the program, read here.