It all started with simple canvas shoes. When American Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina in 2006, he realized that the children he befriended in the country had no shoes to protect their feet. With his concern for the children as inspiration, Mycoskie created Toms, a line of simple canvas shoes that would go by the “One for One” philosophy, which meant that for every pair a consumer bought, a pair would go to a child somewhere who was in need. The shoes and the charitable business philosophy took off, becoming more and more popular in the last few years. As of September 2010, Toms customers have helped the brand give one million pairs of shoes to children who need them, and the numbers have surely risen since that date.
In a new venture, the company has now branched into eyewear with the same charitable “One for One” philosophy. Toms is now offering just a few classic stylings of sunglasses that will help bring sight to those in need. The idea is the same, but this time, instead of shoes, Toms will help give sight to a person in need every time a pair of the brand’s sunglasses is purchased. The good news here is two fold. First of all, a good portion of the money you drop on these shades will go towards a good cause. Second, you won’t be disappointed in the style or quality of your new sunnies. Toms is offering the Classic 101 (above, $135, a flattering wayfarer shape) and the Classic 301 ($145, a simple aviator style) for both sexes, as well as the ladies-only Classic 201 ($135, a movie-star rounded style). To further the appeal, customers can customize their chosen shades by picking the frame color and the color of the hand-painted temples, which make the styles stand out as Toms. The three different colors represent the buyer, the person who is helped, and the brand that brought the two together.
It may not be the single best way to help poorer countries get on their feet, but restoring vision to people who have lost their sight can make a big impact. Some who lose their vision may lose out on an education or the ability to work and provide for their families. Toms has also recognized that, unlike shoes, not everyone’s eye sight can be repaired with prescription eyeglasses. Because of this, the “One for One” model has been slightly modified, allowing for those in need to get medical treatment, prescription eyeglasses, or sight-saving cataract surgery. While the brand hopes to help people in need all over the world, they are starting with Nepal, Cambodia, and Tibet for the Toms Eyewear “One for One” project. Support the movement by snagging yourself a pair of stylish shades and telling your friends.
Each pair of Toms sunglasses is made in Italy and comes with a Toms logo cleaning cloth and a travel case.