Fashion's Night Out: TOMS Shoes Blake Mycoskie at the Grove
"Hey, you got the wedges - you like them?"
Blake Mycoskie welcomes each shopper with a grin and a look down to their shoes. His own light blue colored espadrilles are well worn. The founder of TOMS Shoes is at Nordstrom at the Grove to present new models of his company's trademark espadrilles and promote his charity project One for One in which for every pair sold another is distributed to an individual in a disadvantaged country.
The motives of Mycoskie's project are serious but the atmosphere at Nordstrom is pure party. Pop techno beats blare from a DJ's speakers. A mini putting green sits between the men's and women's shoe sections. A waitress offers risotto hors d'oeuvres to the crowd of shoppers, who fill the aisles so tightly that they must take care not to bump into one another.
Girls with side swept bangs and floral print dresses run their fingers over the display counter tops. Mothers push their children in strollers, and guys who emulate Mycoskie's surfer style browse and chat.
Nearby, several artists use markers to decorate espadrilles with giraffes, peace signs, spirals - whichever designs the shopper requests.
About 25 styles are on the floor including holiday exclusives in tie dye, glitter and sequins.
Meanwhile, Mycoskie is busy smiling and laughing as he greets the guests who have lined up to shake hands and take a picture with the 33-year-old entrepreneur.
"I love meeting the people who wear TOMS shoes and learning their stories and why they became part of the movement," Mycoskie says.
TOMS shoes recently sold its millionth pair.
--Daina Beth SolomonPhoto: A sample of TOMS shoes, on display at the Santa Monica headquarters. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times