TOMS Launches Haiti Artist Collective by Commissioning Haitian Artists to Create Special One-of-a-Kind Shoes
Economic Empowerment is at the Heart of New Program, Which Launches Today Exclusively at TOMS.com and at the TOMS Flagship Store
Underscoring its ongoing commitment to make a positive impact in communities around the world, TOMS has launched the Haiti Artist Collective, it was announced today by TOMS Founder and Chief Shoe Giver, Blake Mycoskie. In alliance with Haiti-based Caribbean Craft, the initiative was founded to support the creation of jobs and connect to the lives and communities of 30 Haitian artists by commissioning them to design limited edition TOMS Shoes. The Haiti Artist Collective TOMS will be available for both men and women at www.TOMS.com and at the TOMS flagship store for $68. WATCH THE VIDEO
In a country still rebuilding from the devastating earthquake in 2010, Haiti remains a center of artistic creativity and inventiveness, which is exemplified by the vibrant tradition and continuation of self-taught painting with colorful style and lines. Guided by Caribbean Craft, the Haiti Artists Collective is comprised of male and female Haitian artists between the ages of 18 and 45 and their apprentices, who have designed each new pair of TOMS shoes depicting Haitian scenery, themes, lifestyle, and community, all of which come to vibrant life as one-of-a-kind, hand-painted TOMS Classics.
“For years, I have been inspired by the perseverance and passion of Haitians and the work done in Haiti by people such as Donna Karan and others,” said Mycoskie. “During a recent conversation with Donna, it became clear TOMS could do more to help. The Haiti Artist Collective is the first small step toward us going beyond One for One(TM) in Haiti. Our ultimate goal is to provide sustainable jobs that drive artistic expression and generate a desire with customers throughout the TOMS community to participate in this exciting new program.”
One of the artists featured in TOMS’ Haiti Artist Collective named Pierre said, “As professional artists, we desire structure and to be recognized for our work. With this new project, I can fight for a better future and help my family.” He, along with several other Haitian artists, can be seen and heard describing their work in a recently-produced video explaining the program at www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrZgb0kVl6M.
TOMS has been giving new shoes to children in Haiti since 2010. Working with humanitarian organizations like Partners In Health, IMA World Health and others, TOMS shoes are given to children in all 10 departments in Haiti. New shoes are combined with the company’s partners greater programs to combat soil-transmitted infections, complete school uniforms and more.
About Caribbean Craft
Based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Caribbean Craft is a reputable local business run by Haitian entrepreneurs that have experience and demonstrated success in working with Haitian artisans. The organization works to both coordinate producers and export their products wholesale. In the course of their work, they have created jobs for hundreds of local artisans, providing income for over 500 families in 2008. Haitian artisans have gained a sense of dignity and empowerment by becoming wage earners, either independently or as in-workshop artists.
Caribbean Craft’s long-term vision is to continue producing in a sustainable manner and to increase the diversity of art and opinions that are passed on to established business in the United States and Canada.
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One (TM). Since then, TOMS has evolved from a shoe company to the One for One (TM) company, and is now addressing an entirely new need around the world in addition to shoes through eyewear.