contributed by Edward Bedinghaus, Student ASID, IES [designer / writer / student]
If you have not heard about TOMS shoes, then you may have been living under a rock for the past six years. These trendy soles made their debut in universities across America in 2006. With their promise that for every pair of shoes you purchase, they will provide one pair to a child in need, TOMS became a ubiquitous brand almost overnight and a staple in every fashionable twenty-something-year-old’s closet. Taking a cue from the successful Style Your Sole community outreach party organized by the American Society of Interior Designers at NeoCon 2012, the ASID Student Chapter at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, recently held its own version of the interactive charity event. To find out more, I interviewed the chapter’s current President, Corey Allen Davey, about this popular “create for a cause” experience that allowed students to showcase their design talent using TOMS shoes as their canvas.
EB: Hi Corey, tell us about the TOMS Style Your Sole event.
CD: Anyone and everyone was invited to participate, but design students made up the bulk of the crowd. Participants were given three hours and a pair of blank, white canvas TOMS. They were encouraged to be creative using materials they brought from home. Some people used markers, paints, and glitter; while others used ribbon, sequins, and textiles. Working together in small groups, participants created unique pairs of designer TOMS.
EB: Where was the competition held”
CD: The Hitch Mobile Eatery in San Marcos. The owner was community-oriented, and allowed us to use the picnic tables. They even stayed open after normal business hours to host.
EB: How did you manage to acquire all those TOMS shoes”
CD: Generous members of the local business and design community sponsored each pair of TOMS. These sponsors include: Laura McDonald Stewart (Plinth & Chintz), Claudia Cowperthwaite (Cowperthwaite Design), Caroline Hill (Texas State University), Liz Soto-Brigham (Overleaf Design), Mary DeWalt (Mary DeWalt Design Group), Herman Miller, Michelle Thomas (Michelle Thomas Design), Karla Urbina (Exteriors), Stone Solutions, Lights Fantastic, True Interiors, Sherwin-Williams, Hi-Q Productions, First National Bank of Beeville, Mary Ellen and Dudley Thoms, Sandy and Rob Speer. This event would not have been possible without their support.
EB: That must have taken some coordination on your part. Why did you go through all the effort to organize Style Your Sole”
CD: This event was an outlet for students, myself included, to take a break from our coursework and get our creative juices flowing. The shoes were later auctioned off at the ASID Austin Design Community 2012 Design Excellence Awards, and the money raised went to our student chapter for future events. As added bonuses, the design community had a chance to see students’ work in an entertaining context, and The Hitch Mobile Eatery enjoyed new customers.
EB: What will you remember most about this event”
CD: The community of sponsors was absolutely incredible. Without hesitation, they each agreed to purchase a pair of TOMS shoes to help our student chapter. Also, the ASID Austin Design Community was gracious enough to let us auction these shoes at the Design Excellence awards. It was great to be a part of this, and I anticipate our officers will organize Style Your Sole again next year.