The new TOMS shoe store at the foot of Beijing Oriental Plaza’s dizzyingly lengthy roll call of foreign brands offers a brief intermission from singleminded consumerism. TOMS’ business model is all about letting lovers of fashion give something back – in this case, it’s a donation to a child in need. The US brand has sent more than 35 million pairs of new shoes to youth in more than 70 countries as part of its One for One project. Fans of the brand may have heard about founder Blake Mycoskie’s commitment to villages in Argentina, but what the imagery in the new TOMS store doesn’t tell you is that TOMS has donated more than 600,000 pairs of shoes to children in 10 Chinese provinces, and they’re not stopping there.

If it’s true that Chinese consumers are moving away from labels in search of a more meaningful ways to shop, then TOMS’ philanthropic efforts may be one answer to their search. The shop, which displays hard-to-miss “GIVE” signage, offers a wide range of the signature comfortable and casual TOMS footwear for women, men, and children in trendy prints and colors, and it doesn’t disappoint for those looking for a shoe outside the realm of a canvas slip-on. Desert and chukka boots, brogues, and sneakers are in high supply, while the TOMS spring collection offers comfy and cute woolen shoes in celebration of the Year of the Ram. When we visited their shop display even featured a few good fortune red styles for good measure.

We know what you’re thinking: Will TOMS’ entry into China be enough to stamp out all those copycats in the markets? We’re certainly breathing a sigh of relief that Chinese shoppers now have the chance to wear the style and make the donation. To make sure they’re getting the real deal, shoppers can turn to the TOMS online store or one of the 25 stores set to be open across the country by the end of 2016.

Daily 10am-10pm. AA76E, 1 Chang'an Jie, Oriental Plaza, Dongcheng District (8518 6712)

Photos: Uni

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