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Press Release

Payless ShoeSource Supports Eco-Partner Summer Rayne Oakes in Month-Long Uniform Project to Raise Awareness for Eco-Fashion

Payless Shoes and Accessories Used to Refresh Oakes' Custom-Designed Black Dress; Payless Matches Dollar-for-Dollar Donations to Charity: Water Cause

PR Newswire

TOPEKA, Kan., March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- All this month, Payless ShoeSource will support eco-model and Payless brand partner Summer Rayne Oakes as she takes on Uniform Project's 'Pilot Series' challenge, which features a new trendsetter each month who wears one "little black dress" all month in an effort to increase awareness for sustainable fashion and raise funds for important global causes.


Oakes, well known as an eco-model and sustainability strategist and the Eco-Consultant behind Payless' Zoe & Zac green shoe brand, has designed a custom little black dress that she'll wear all 31 days of March.  She will style the dress with a variety of shoes and accessories from Payless, including the Zoe & Zac products she helps Payless create, as well as items from such designer labels as Isabel Toledo for Payless, Christian Siriano for Payless and Lela Rose for Payless.  

Each Uniform Project participant also earmarks a global cause for their efforts in the Project. Oakes has chosen Charity: Water, an organization dedicated to raising money to build wells for the billion people who do not have access to clean water and basic sanitation facilities around the globe.   All Oakes' 31 looks and her Uniform Project journey will be chronicled at, where people can learn more about sustainable fashion, as well as donate to each participant's chosen cause through a easy-to-use donate button.

As part of its support for Oakes and the Project, Payless announced today that it will match dollar-for-dollar (up to $10,000) for all donations made to Charity: Water through the donation button at throughout March, and will also deliver a 50% off offer on a single Zoe & Zac purchase throughout 2011, for those that donate $10 or more in March through an online donation.

"Participating in the Uniform Project is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how easy it is to implement eco-fashion in our daily lives," said Summer Rayne Oakes. "All people really need to refresh any outfit are some great accessories, like the ones I'll be wearing from Payless.  My picks will keep my little black dress looking fresh day after day and I'm excited that Payless is also supporting my involvement in the Project through the matching donation for Charity: Water and rewarding those that give with a rich offer on the Payless Zoe & Zac items."

For the challenge, Oakes has helped design a highly versatile '50s-inspired black dress with Carasan Designs. She will style the vintage-inspired dress with Payless shoe and accessory accents that stress the latest trends of the spring season including strappy shooties, ankle-strap sandals and peep toe flats.  Many styles featured in Oakes' looks are available now in Payless stores nationwide or at  

"We are thrilled to support Summer Rayne Oakes, our valued partner, as she embarks on The Uniform Project," said LuAnn Via, CEO of Payless ShoeSource. "Raising awareness for eco-friendly fashion is important and this initiative does so in a fun, fashionable and inspiring way.  We look forward to seeing the amazing 31 looks Summer will create this month by combining her little black dress with Payless and are very pleased to also support the important work of Charity: Water with matching funds."

About Zoe & Zac & Summer Rayne Oakes

The Zoe & Zac green brand is available in about 1,000 Payless stores nationwide and®.  The line was created and first launched by Payless in April 2009 to democratize green footwear and accessory products by making them affordable and accessible and to bring eco-consciousness to the mainstream.   The Zoe & Zac products are green because they are made from eco-friendly components and materials such as organic cottons and linen, environmentally preferred faux leather, suede and patent, as well as natural hemp, recycled rubber outsoles, eco-friendly EVA cushioning, and water-based glues.  The product packaging is eco-smart as well, utilizing 100 percent recycled shoe boxes and soy-based inks for the printing. Oakes is the Eco-Consultant for the Zoe & Zac green brand, where she helps the Payless find innovative ways to create "fresh green fashion."

Summer Rayne Oakes is a model-activist and Co-founder of Source4Style, a B2B online marketplace that allows designers to source and discover more sustainable materials from a network of global suppliers. The Cornell University graduate and environmental scholar has received media accolades including from Vanity Fair naming her a Global Citizen, Outside naming her one of the Top Environmental Activists, and CNBC calling her one of the "Top 10 Green Entrepreneurs of 2010." Through her work as a consultant Summer Rayne advises companies and organizations, and works on sustainable development and environmental programs in the U.S. and abroad.  In 2009, she released her first book, Style, Naturally: The Savvy Shopping Guide to Sustainable Fashion & Beauty published by Chronicle Books.  

About Payless & Collective Brands, Inc.

Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of third quarter 2010, the company operated nearly 4,500 stores. In addition, customers can buy shoes over the Internet through at

About Uniform Project

Uniform Projectis a social enterprise that started in 2009 when U.P. Founder Sheena Mathieken  pledged to wear one little black dress for 365 days as a creative exercise in sustainability and a fundraiser to support the Akanksha Foundation. The U.P. has since evolved into a series of monthly challenges with a new face, new little black dress and new cause every month. For more information visit

SOURCE Payless ShoeSource

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