In the Name of Compassion, or Fashion?

Kimberly Zayac

In 2006, Blake Mycoskie created TOMS Shoes and has pledged that with every pair of their shoes sold, one would be donated to a child around the world in need. According to the TOMS website, over 10 million pairs of shoes have been donated to over 60 countries so far. Now, seven years later, why do Eastern students still wear TOMS? Is it in the name of the company’s mission, to give a pair of shoes to a child in need? Or has the charity become more of a fashion trend?

Eastern senior Shelby Boyle says it’s a little bit of both.  “I think a lot of people at Eastern wear the shoes in order to follow the trends.  By trends, I mean the fashion trends of this campus as well as the trends to do good in the world and be super conscious of what you do.”

However, it’s clear that the organization’s purpose has become lost on some. “The shoes are simple and easy to slip on and off so they’re ideal for a lazy college student,” says Boyle. “Students don’t want to pay the price of TOMS (which is the main reason for TOMS being able to do what they do with their organization), so they buy knock offs to look like everyone else.” Today, TOMS outlets are being advertised online where the shoes are sold for half the original price, which begs the question whether or not a pair of shoes are still being donated to someone in need.

As Christmas approaches, should we care about an organization’s purpose when buying a product? “I think it is good for everyone to be somewhat conscious of what brands and companies they are supporting,” says Boyle. “I think that the mission of TOMS should not be focused solely on a Christian school, but I feel that as Christians, we are called to serve people and help those that cannot help themselves.”

Especially during the holiday season, many do not want to overlook a company with a good purpose. Like TOMS, there are plenty of companies out there that can do a lot of good for others when given the chance.


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