We were pretty excited to see Pam Mycoskie’s (Blake’s mom) limited edition TOMS fly off the shelves and she is sure to be a busy lady in the coming weeks. The idea of custom painted shoes, however, is a TOMS classic that has been with the company since 2006. In the summer after Blake returned to the US from Argentina and began TOMS, the team realized the canvas upper of the alpargata took well to paint and marker. A good friend of Blake’s, artist Tyler Ramsey, began custom painting shoes in his signature splatter style, and the employees began to experiment personalizing their own shoes, too. When interns Hajime and Allie came on board, they were given the task of organizing two events that were turning points for the custom TOMS endeavor. “Painted White” and “House Party” (an organization that helped TOMS coordinate 1,500 parties across the country) were intern victories, and although with very different audiences, both shoe-painting events proved that creating unique TOMS was a special way to pull creativity and unite under the One for One mission. Allie later coined the name “Style Your Sole” and its stuck ever since. TOMS now defines Style Your Sole as a way for people to express themselves creatively with any art medium they find appropriate on a pair of TOMS Shoes.
TOMS campus reps around the country started to organize their own SYS in fall 2007, generating about 20 events that semester. For the Spring 2009 term, over 200 campus SYS events took place… and that number continues to grow.
TOMS retailers around the country host local artists for Style Your Sole events which keep the local retailer in tune and close with their community, and the action sports industry has totally embraced Style Your Sole. Artists such as Hovin Wang, Brooke Reidt, Lisa Solberg, Kris Markovich, Kelli Murray, Jake Vantiger and Ekundayo have hand painted TOMS or created custom murals at Style Your Sole events.
The TOMS Vagabond Tour launched in fall 2008, which takes 5 regional teams of TOMS interns around the country to host Style Your Sole events on high school and college campuses. Between the fall 2008 and spring 2009 tour, the Vagabonds have hosted nearly 350 Style Your Sole events.
When TOMS set out to host the first US Shoe Drops in the United States this past fall, the team brought white canvas TOMS and markers for the kids to decorate their own pair. “The need is very different for the children in the US,” states Ana Maria, who coordinates and organizes the TOMS Shoe Drops. “Giving these kids the opportunity to interact and converse with the volunteers, color their own shoes, and be creative is absolutely making an impact.”
Style Your Sole isn’t just for students on campus, churches, or retailers. A TOMS Style Your Sole event is for those who are excited about the One for One mission. The creative one in the family, the non-creative one, your 5-year old nephew, your 95-year old grandmother, friends, community members, neighbors, your graduation party guests- all are perfect candidates to join you for a Style Your Sole.
Inspired? Host a party of your own! Email Julie@TOMSshoes.com for more info.
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Tags: art · art show · canvas shoes · creativity · custom shoes · hand painted shoes · interns · paint shoes · pam mycoskie · style your sole · TOMS mom · tyler ramsey · Vagabonds
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