Venice-based Toms Shoes is going animal-style with a new partnership that benefits endangered mountain gorillas living in Africa's oldest national park.
A version of Toms classic alpargata silhouette bearing the embroidered logo of Virunga National Park hit retail Tuesday, which, in addition to providing footwear to a child in need (through the company's familiar "one-for-one" formula), will see a portion of each sale donated to the 3,000-square-mile wildlife habitat located along the Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern border.
It's the first shoe to be released under the company's new animal initiative, a program spearheaded by Heather Mycoskie, wife of Toms founder Blake Mycoskie, who, as the company's newly appointed "Chief Animal Lover" (everyone at the company has a similarly quirky title; Blake is "Chief Shoe Giver") will select a different animal each year to be the beneficiary of the brand's support.
As a result of the new program -- and her ongoing animal advocacy efforts -- Heather Mycoskie is set to be one of the honorees at the upcoming Beastly Ball fundraiser organized by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn.
The safari-themed event, to take place at the L.A. Zoo and Botanical Gardens on June 14, is now in its 44th year and annually raises more than $1 million for the zoo. Additional information (including how to purchase a $1,000 ticket to attend) is available online.