“Incorporate giving in what you do…”
When was the last time shoe shopping became inspiring? I noticed over the last few months that people have been wearing TOMS Shoes in every possible imaginable color. What seemed to have started as a vegan phase all of a sudden infiltrated college campuses and the Upper East Side. Now while I like to mock all those girls because they treat fashion like a must-have school uniform I have come to find that they also like surprisingly comfortable and useful things. Exhibit A would be the Ugg boot. Who would have thought something so ugly could be one of my prized clothing items?Exhibit B would be the Hunter rain boot and all the same comments apply.
So as a sucker for shoe fads I looked into what these TOMS actually are. I have never been so pleasantly surprised.
According to my beloved Wikipedia, while competing on the second season of The Amazing Race, Blake Mycoskie visited Argentina. He returned there on vacation in January 2006 and had the idea to develop a shoe company where for every pair sold, a new pair would be donated to a child in need of shoes. Blake had once said of his revelation, “I was sitting on a farm pondering life, and it occurred to me, ‘I’m going to start a shoe company, and for every pair that we sell, I’ll give a pair to someone who needs them. Mycoskie took to wearing the local alpargata shoes. After Mycoskie noticed the numerous children without shoes in the poorer villages, he returned to the United States and sold his online driver education company to self-finance the shoe company.
Alpargata shoes have also been worn by Argentine farmers for hundreds of years and were the inspiration for the classic style of TOMS. These canvas or cotton fabric shoes are now manufactured in many styles including a Wrap Boot, Stitchouts, Cordones, and Botas. The sole is constructed of rubber. TOMS offers several vegan styles as well. The company name is derived from the word “tomorrow, and evolved from the original concept, “Shoes for Tomorrow Project.
After then watching the video on the site I was actually in tears. Partly because it only takes a couple poor children without shoes to make me tear up and partly because I as so excited to think that there are still people left in the world that concepted a business around the desire to do something good.
photo source: TOMS