When did Toms Shoes Jump the Shark?
July 11, 2011 § Leave a comment
Was it the Glitters line with pink, gold, and silver sequined Toms? Or maybe the Wedding Collection? Or was it the revelation that founder Blake Mycoskie is associating himself with right-wing nutcases at Focus on the Family?
I’ll admit that last summer I owned a pair of Toms – their “traditional” shoe in blue (Mycoskie copied/stole/”drew inspiration from” the Argentinian alpargata design which he saw while he was a contestant on The Amazing Race). It was a simple slip-on that was easy-to-wear and perfect for summer. At the time, Toms hit that hippie intersection of feel-good consumerism and cultural appropriation. “I’m helping children and it’s ethnic!”
Mycoskie working with Focus on the Family actually makes pretty good business sense. First of all, Toms’ “one for one” model – a pair of Toms given to a needy child for every pair bought in the First World – fits pretty well within the evangelist model of saving “uncivilized” peoples. More importantly though, the move signals a shift away from the hippie, West Coast feel that first launched the brand and towards the heartland. Unfortunately though, the problem with any brand (I’m looking at you American Apparel) going Middle America, adding nonsensical products, and opening more stores ultimately means losing your cool factor.
Earlier this summer, my poor Toms popped a seam and ended up in the waste basket. I think the Fashion Gods were doing me a favor.