Introduction – I Have A Problem
Let me set the scene for you. It’s a Friday evening and I’m in Topman Oxford Street, gossiping with Terry the Topman stylist. As much as I’m trying to focus and enjoy some good banter, my gaze keeps wondering over to the pair of TOMS displayed a stones throw to my left.
Now if you’ve ever read my writing before you’ll understand I have the biggest shoe fetish around, I mean I would literally cut my toes off to get into a tight pair of treads. I’m the kind of person that would buy a size 8 as oppose to my actual size 9.5, just because they look nicer, then wince in pain every time I sport them. I know, I know, fashion has no mercy. Stupid me!
Jump back to me trying to listen intently to the latest Fash-Pack gossip, one eye meandering to the left. My self-control (or lack thereof) flakes and I have to get myself over to these shining beacons in a sea of distressed leather and rubber soles.
“Sorry, must dash!” I stumble through oodles of brogues, tasselled loafers and studded, military boots of varying shades and sizes, arms outstretched, eyes bulging, and what seems like a life time before I reach the TOMS stand. As soon as I’m there, face on, in front of these beautifully crafted ‘foot temples’ I realise, actually, if I touch these there is no way I’m leaving tonight with out them.
I’m one of those impromptu shoppers, the kind that’s always running into some sort of trouble. I know I can’t spend any money, I know I have so many things I have to save for, yet when that sparkling haze appears around me like someone just shot a huge glitter cannon at me, I lose all knowledge of anything. Money doesn’t exist, Tanneries don’t destroy the environment and baby cows want to grow up to be eye-catching shoes or the latest ‘it’ bag. This is why I mustn’t touch. Although, maybe I should, after all they are TOMS and they are ethically amazing.
If you’ve never heard of TOMS shoes before my rambling is probably getting completely lost. Let me take it back a step and tell you a bit about them.
Four years ago in 2006, Blake Mycoskie, an American traveller, spent some time in Argentina and found that a considerable amount of children had no shoes: something most of us take for granted everyday. Wanting to do something about it, Mycoskie created a shoe company, a company founded on a simple premise: with every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS would give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. A One for One scheme.
Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good has allowed the brand to grow into a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support. The One for One business model transforms customers into benefactors as opposed to just another targeted buyer.
Not only are these shoes crafted with a beautiful ethos, they’re completely stunning which makes them even more irresistibly dangerous.
In the last 4 years the Ono for One scheme has spread and inspired other companies to implement the same model. Ralph Lauren sells co-branded Polo Rugby TOMS, giving a matching pair with every pair sold. Element Skateboards has issued limited edition TOMS plus Element shoes as well as a One for One skateboard. With every skateboard purchase, one will be given to a child at the Indigo Skate Camp in Durban, South Africa.
Now you see my predicament, Oh I want these shoes so bad. These green and beige striped, canvas gems, with their candy floss soles are in my hands. The pocket containing my wallet starts to heat up and, uh oh, here comes the glitter.
I’m not going to give you a breakdown of how to wear your TOMS. This is not a guide on what to wear your new kicks with, because you simply don’t need one. Wear them with anything or merely place them on your mantel piece and just admire them.
So to back up what Jacob just said and also because I saw a request for this the other day, here are a few varied outfits using Toms footwear. I particularly like the solid colour versions as they can be subbed in for trainers a lot of the time with no thought or consideration: