N’go (buy at: ngo-shoes.com) is a social sneakers brand that highlights the craftsmanship of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities while also supporting the construction of elementary schools in remote villages in Northern Vietnam. In 2017 N’go was created by childhood friends Kevin and Ronan—both wanted to set up a project combining ethical values, craftsmanship and solidarity. Collaborating with the White Thaï artisans under a cooperative, Kevin and Ronan aim to promote and preserve the group’s handweaving tradition. Working under a cooperative enables the ethnic minority groups to stay informed in the decision-making and even set their own selling prices, which N’go do not negotiate under any circumstances. N’go is currently working with two craftspeople cooperatives in Hoa Binh and Nghe An provinces. N’go donates part of its profits to Sao Bien, an organization that build schools in the poorest regions of Vietnam. Each school welcomes at least 60 pupils, aged 6 to 11 years old.
Proudly sporting traditional colorful patterns, the back and side of every pair is made of unique hand-woven fabrics. N‘go’s innovative feature is a new “espadrille style” with the laces placed around the shoes’ outsole.