For the past few years there has been a trend around the globe. It is the trend of giving, while making a fashion statement. Within South Africa we have many impoverished communities and organisations which need advertising and support. I remember a couple of years ago when Woolworths sold beautiful, artisan, South African crafted, beaded earrings and rings. Each of these jewellery items sold by Woolworths would then donate the money to the organisation (in this case the organisation was for women who were HIV positive and thought to create awareness out of fashionable items). It was so dear to see that the packaging was personable, since the artisans’ names were handwritten on the card of the ring or earrings.
In recent years there has been a larger global trend which is an organisation that helps mainly children and adults across over 50 countries, through fashion merchandise. This organisation is called “TOMS”.
This is the hem of TOMS.
Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS and leader of the One for One movement. Courtesy of TOMS.
The organisation, TOMS, was founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 after his trip to Argentina that same year. Blake Mycoskie was touched and motivated to create a business that was in the form of an organisation, which ultimately served the same purpose. He created a business that is for-profit and does not rely upon donations. This idea to me is brilliant. It is an idea which works perfectly in today’s world. A fashion statement and purchasing something for oneself, and simultaneously aiding another, is simply genius. Thus, he created the TOMS shoes, because he had witnessed the hardships which the children of Argentina were facing, as some were not allowed to go to school without owning a pair of shoes. The classic styled canvas shoes were modelled after the traditional Argentine farmers’ shoes, known as the “alpargata”.
Fashion is more than just a personality statement, serving a selfish purpose. Blake Mycoskie changed this by initiating the “One for One” movement; fashion now serves to help the world around us. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, another is given to a child in need.
The company has just expanded their business by including eyewear. Now for every pair of TOMS sunglasses purchased either medical treatment, prescription glasses or a sight-saving surgery will be given to a person in need.
On the 16th of April, “One Day Without Shoes” will be taking place around the world. This is an event which TOMS implemented, where everyone who participates goes for one day without shoes to create awareness, promote TOMS, and feel how it feels to be exposed to health hazards and simply walking without the comfort of shoes (which most take for granted).
Join the movement by liking the TOMS SA page and the One day Without Shoes event on Facebook.