TOMS x & Other Stories | The problem with ethical fashion ranges
There's a lot to feel good about in the TOMS x & Other Stories collaboration – and I'm not even including in that the fact that, if you purchase anything from & Other Stories using that link, I'll get a cut! If you haven't heard of TOMS, then here's the sitch; set up by entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie (above, with Erin Wasson) they describe themselves as "one for one" company. Essentially, TOMS' modus operandi means that, for every pair of shoes you (or I) buy, the company will donate a pair to a person in need.
TOMS first clothing collection
Now, TOMS has made its first foray into clothing with the assistance of & Other Stories, with a 25-piece ready-to-wear collection of shoes and clothes, modelled by the aforementioned Erin Wasson and photographed by Natalia Joos (whose blog is also well worth a read). In other words, they're going for serious fashion cred with the collection's imagery.
However, when it comes to prices, we're talking strictly high-street – a pair of TOMS x & Other Stories shoes will set you back between €60 and €85, with clothing starting at €49 for a pair of embroidered shorts.
How does the one-for-one vibe work?
Things are the same – and slightly different – with this collaboration. While, as per usual, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every item bought, & Other Stories is also getting in on the action, providing a month's worth of English language classes through the NGO, the Magic Bus Women's Scholarship Fund.
Like I said, there's a lot to feel good about if you make a purchase from this collection – your new piece of clobber will provide shoes and education, respectively, for two people in need.
So, what's the problem?
Ultimately, my issue with the TOMS x & Other Stories Co-Lab is pretty similar to my problem with a whole lot of other ethical fashion ranges (see also: Free People and People Tree); there's a very particular aesthetic that the collection espouses, and that aesthetic could be summed up thus: flowy, hippie stuff.
Now, when I say my problem – I mean just that. I, personally, am not a huge fan of boho chic. Or, rather, I am, but I just don't think it suits me (although I actually love TOMS – they're cute and super comfy!). I'd love to be the Nicole-Richie-in-her-hippie-phase type of gal, but I'm more a, er... Well. I'm not quite sure what I am. (Here's what I'd like to be!)
Ultimately, my objection is purely aesthetic; I'm still waiting for more ethical clothing along the lines of ASSEMBLE by Louise Tracey – cool, wearable separates that don't feel like you should be wearing them to Coachella.