TOMS Shoes, a "One-For-One Movement" that donates a pair of shoes for every pair purchased, hosted a launch party last night for their new 2011 Spring Collection. The private event at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood was catered by Umami Burger, and celeb guests included TOMS fans David Arquette, Selma Blair, and couple Chef Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price.
The new line of shoes is inspired by the life and work of Dan Eldon. Eldon was a photojournalist and artist, and at 22 was covering the Somali war for Reuters. In 1993 he was stoned to death by a confused crowd that blamed him for a recent U.N. bombing. When authorities delivered Eldon's rucksack to his parents, mother Kathy Eldon found a wealth of mixed media art and writing in his journal that she turned into a book The Journey Is The Destination.
Blake Mycoskie, the irrepressible founder and "Chief Shoe Giver" of TOMS, couldn't stop smiling as he discussed the life and work of Dan Eldon, whose quotes, photography, art, and even fingerprints inspired the new line of shoes. To HuffPost, Mycoskie noted that TOMS' distinctive shoes were literally "a blank canvas," perfect for the array of African fabric prints, colors, and sketches that make up this year's collection. On discovering Eldon's book in 2004, Mycoskie said, "I was really inspired by his work and the fact that he was a social activist through his photography--way before that was cool." Mycoskie identified a lot with Eldon's desire to make the world a better place, and also noted that he too has been keeping a journal since he was in his early teens: "His style and everything about him really kind of clicked with me." He's been a fan ever since he read Kathy Eldon's book in 2004, and was thrilled to have found a way to incorporate Dan into TOMS' shoe design.
Mycoskie also noted his deep admiration and respect for Kathy Eldon and Dan's sister, Amy Eldon Turteltaub, who were also there at the party. "They've taken something horrible and tragic, obviously very devastating to them, and allowed his legacy to live on and inspire a lot of young people." Kathy and Amy have established Creative Visions Foundation, located in Malibu, to provide training and resources to other young "creative activists."
The Space 15 Twenty gallery of Dan Eldon's work and the "giveshop" selling TOMS shoes is open to the public today through March 31st. Check out the schedule for community events, workshops, and lectures.
When: March 12-31. Open Mon-Thu 11am-9pm; Fri 11am-10pm; Sat 10am-11pm; Sun 10am-9pm.
Where: Space 15 Twenty, 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028
Cost: Gallery and events are free. Shoe prices vary.