This one's been brewing for a while and we couldn't be more thrilled that the launch is finally here. Meet Clare V. x TOMS, one of the cutest shoe capsules you'll ever see. In anticipation of the launch, we sat down with John Whitledge, the Creative Director of TOMS, to discuss the inspiration behind the collab and what it means to see this collection come to life.
What was the inspiration behind collaborating with Clare and the Clare V. brand on the collection?
We wanted to work with a local designer that we loved for their designs, but also someone who shared our values for giving back. I love Clare’s design sensibility: her love of color, stripes, and playful details, as well as her effortless French style. Her designs just make you happy and speak to a similar optimism that we hold. Also, as a father to three young daughters, aged 4, 3, and 18 months, I love that Claire strongly believes in female empowerment.
Were there certain creative references for both the designs and the campaign surrounding the launch?
We drew inspiration from our back yard here in Los Angeles, and also incorporated Clare’s French influence. The entire collection has a refined casual vibe that I think reflects both Southern California and France nicely. We just took naturally from each brand to make sure it was an authentic mashup, and most importantly designs that we loved.
What elements of each brand did you draw on to form a cohesive collab?
I always believe collaborations should start from a place of authenticity. We started with some of our classic TOMS slip-on silhouettes with rope soles that represented an easy and effortless style of both California and France. We built on these iconic style and also introduced two new silhouettes – the lace-up Katalina and a pre-launch of the Carmel. The Carmel is a retro sneaker style inspired by France in the 60’s that I absolutely love. We then used some of our classic fabrics; heritage canvas, twill and nubuck leather as our base, and then Clare carefully added some of her signature colors and details: tassels, leopard prints, and navy and red stripes. I absolutely love the way it all turned out.
Are there any specific design details that set this collab apart from others you've done in the past?
We usually don’t collaborate on so many styles, but it was so difficult to narrow it down since we loved the way each one turned out. We had to launch them all. ☺
What was the draw of the Downtown's Women's Center as the charitable cause that's benefitted from the collab?
Clare V. and TOMS are Los Angeles based companies and we both agree that it’s imperative to give back in our own backyard. MADE by DWC empowers women in our community to develop creative skills to help break the cycle of chronic homelessness. We’re proud to support a cause that is making a positive impact in our local community and we hope it inspires others to also give back.