TOMS Shoes Win the 2007 People’s Design Award
The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum presented its second People's Design Award to TOMS Shoes on Thursday, Oct. 18th, at its eighth annual National Design Awards gala in New York. Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi announced the winning design and presented the award to TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie. National Design Week and the National Design Awards are sponsored by Target.
After thousands of votes were cast during the course of one month on Cooper-Hewitt’s website, TOMS Shoes―a company which matches every pair of shoes purchased with a donation of a pair to a child in need―emerged as the public's favorite design. It was a close race until the midnight hour (the online voting was extended until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 16, due to high visitor traffic) between TOMS and the Floating Pool, a 20,000 square-foot floating pool complex built within a steel deck barge, commissioned by Ann Buttenwieser of the Neptune Foundation and designed by architect Jonathan Kirschenfeld. The Floating Pool was docked last summer at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Beach in Brooklyn, New York.
TOMS, slip-on shoes available in vibrant colors and prints, are inspired by the traditional, rope-soled Argentine “alpargata.” Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS in 2006 following a trip to Argentina, where he was struck by the poverty and health issues of the country. During the first year of business alone, TOMS sold 10,000 pairs of shoes and Mycoskie returned to Argentina to lead the company’s first shoe drop. In November, Mycoskie will travel to Africa, where he will be delivering more than 50,000 pairs of TOMS.
"I’m delighted that for the second year in a row, the public has chosen a socially conscious design that not only looks great, but helps the lives of less fortunate people around the world,” said Cooper-Hewitt director Paul Warwick Thompson.
Marianne Cusato, designer of the Katrina Cottage, was selected as the first People's Design Award winner.
Mycoskie, an entrepreneur, founded TOMS Shoes following a string of successful ventures, including a collegiate laundry service, a 24/7 reality TV network and a stint on “The Amazing Race: Season Two.” Mycoskie has spent the past year traveling across the U.S. in an Airstream trailer, thanking TOMS customers and supporters and spreading awareness about the cause.
About the People's Design Award
Launched on Sept. 17, the People's Design Award website received hundreds of nominations, thousands of votes and more than 130,000 visitors. By logging on to www.cooperhewitt.org, users were able to browse and vote from the existing nominees or upload images to nominate a new object. Nominees ranged from everyday objects (the rubber band and the fly swatter) and design classics (the Valentine typewriter and the iMac) to architectural monuments (the Brooklyn Bridge and New York’s Seagram Building) and examples of socially responsible design (the LifeStraw and the $100 Laptop).
About the National Design Awards
First launched at the White House as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the awards were established to broaden awareness of the role of design in daily life by honoring individuals in all areas of design, as well as its patrons and supporters. The National Design Awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including lectures, roundtable discussions, and workshops. For more information, please visit www.nationaldesignawards.org.
National Design Week | Oct. 14-20, 2007
The People's Design Award is part of Cooper-Hewitt's education initiative, National Design Week. During this week, the museum is offering free admission for all visitors and hosting numerous free design programs. In recognition of the importance of design education, organizations and schools nationwide also will sponsor events during National Design Week. For a complete schedule of National Design Week events, please visit www.cooperhewitt.org.
About the Museum
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor, and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967.
Minneapolis-based Target serves guests at 1,591 stores in 47 states nationwide by delivering today’s best retail trends at affordable prices. Target is committed to providing guests with great design through innovative products, in-store experiences and community partnerships. Target gives more than $3 million a week to its local communities through grants and special programs. Since opening its first store in 1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations, guests and team members to help meet community needs.
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