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NEW YORK — First, it was the perfect T-shirt; then, the iconic sunglasses, and now, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are delving into shoes.
This story first appeared in the February 14, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The two are continuing to build their designer label The Row, and for fall, they are collaborating with philanthropy-driven Toms Shoes. The partnership resulted in three groups of shoes that offer a new take on Toms’ espadrilles. Toms + The Row shoes will be available in plaid, wool-cashmere and herringbone, at a suggested retail price from $98 to $150.
Blake Mycoskie founded Toms Shoes in 2006 after coming across an Argentine village on his travels that was so poor its children didn’t even have shoes. It inspired Mycoskie to launch Toms based on the idea that, for every pair of shoes he sold, he would match a pair for a child who needed them.
“We feel it’s really important to spread awareness of the Toms One for One mission,” Ashley Olsen said. “For every pair of Toms + The Row shoes sold, a child in need will receive a new pair of shoes. Toms + The Row customers will have the ability to give back and create change with a single purchase.”
“The giving is immediate,” Mary-Kate Olsen added. “Having the opportunity to be a part of something so meaningful has made the collaboration with Toms special to everyone at The Row.”
The Olsens launched The Row in 2007 with the idea of creating a perfect T-shirt. Since then, the line has evolved into eveningwear, outerwear, knits, men’s wear and sunglasses, and the two designers, who, over the years, have become style icons for their fashion sensibility, also launched the contemporary Elizabeth and James line and the junior and tween Olsenboye line at J.C. Penney.
The collaboration with Toms is another step in the Olsens’ aim to build The Row into an American luxury lifestyle brand. For Mycoskie, the collaboration will help heighten the exposure of his charitable mission.
“We recognize that it’s a luxury to be able to give, and everyone at Toms takes this to heart,” he said. “The feeling we get from being able to give new pairs of shoes to children in need is extraordinary, and with The Row, we’ve found a partner whose amazing interpretation of our classic alpargata has truly taken our product to an entirely new level.”