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Toms, Disney and female empowerment

Ethical footwear brand Toms has teamed up with Disney for a collaboration that celebrates “princess power”.

Entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie founded ethical footwear brand Toms in 2006, creating a pioneering “one for one” model that donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for each pair sold.

More than a decade on and Toms has expanded its philanthropic activities to include safe water programmes, eye examinations and treatments, and training to ensure safe births in more than 70 countries around the world. The brand has also partnered with retailers including & Other Stories and Prabal Gurung on product colloborations. 

This summer, Toms has teamed up with entertainment giant Disney on a collaboration that celebrates artwork from female artists working behind the scenes on Walt Disney animated films between the mid-1930s to 1959. The 16-piece women’s and children’s footwear collection features artwork from classic Disney princess films. The Cinderella  range launches this week, a Sleeping Beauty collection launches in July, and Snow White will follow in August. 

Drapers chats to Mycoskie, creative director John Whitledge and chief giving officer Amy Smith about raiding Disney’s archives, the importance of collaboration and empowering the next generation.

Why did Toms choose to partner with Disney?

Blake Mycoskie Disney is an iconic brand with a massive and loyal fan base. Beyond that, Disney gives back to children and communities, which is so important to us because giving is at the core of our brand.

We have also been hearing from our customer for ages that they would like for us to do a collaboration with Disney, so we got together and made it happen. 

Why did Toms want to celebrate the women who worked behind the scenes at Disney?

John Whitledge I have three young daughters, so I want them to know that they can do anything and that they are an important part of any story. The story of these women isn’t one we often hear, so we wanted to take this opportunity to use this incredible Disney artwork to tell their story and celebrate this group of women.

These women filled each animated sketch with colour and brought life and magic to these classic Disney princesses. These characters are still so relevant today, so it is very special to understand the process that went into bringing them to life.

Why is it important that this range empowers women and girls?

Amy Smith At Toms, we want to empower everyone. From our team to our customers, to those receiving shoes and sight, and to other people making a positive impact in the world. It’s important to us that everyone has equal opportunity and with that we wanted to celebrate women and girls.

Our shoe and sight gives are always integrated into larger programmes around education, health, and community development. In addressing community needs, many of our giving partners identify opportunities to empower children to attend school, express their voices, and become stewards of their own life journeys.

What was it like getting to explore the Disney archives?

JW It was an incredible experience. It is so inspiring to be among all these original pieces of Disney art. We learned that it’s a very precise and meticulous process to preserve each piece, so it is a constant work in progress.

The employees all wear white gloves, and you can tell the passion they have in the stories these one-of-a-kind pieces tell.

Why are collaborations important to Toms?

BM Collaborations are a great way for us to reach more people. The more people we reach, the more we give. It allows us to collectively expand our social impact.





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