A total of 18 students from of the Fashion and Footwear Design Studio of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague participated in this year’s inaugural competition. The awards ceremony took place at the La Fabrika cultural centre in Prague’s Holesovice, and prizes were handed out by leading Czech cellist Terezie Kovalová and world-famous Italian designer Alberto Del Biondi, who has a long history of collaborating with Bata Global.
The awards ceremony was attended by Bata Group CEO Alexis Nasard, chief marketing officer Thomas A. Bata, Thomas G. Bata and Christopher Kirk. Also in attendence were Libena Rochova, head of the Fashion and Footwear Design Studio of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, and Tonya Graves, ambassador of Bata’s new brand manifesto “Me&Comfortable With It.”
The winner of the competition in the Women’s Footwear category was Linda Zabilková with her “Change It!” design, and in the Men’s Footwear category it was Adam Kost with his “Straight Black” design. The winners of the competition will be able to implement their designs in cooperation with Bata. One pair of men’s shoes and one pair of women’s shoes will then be manufactured and sold in a limited edition in the biggest Bata shops around the world.
Kost, speaking to Bata World News at the awards ceremony, praised the event, commenting: "I think (the competition) is something absolutely different…I think the shoes are really good."
Discussing the impact on the young designers, he added: "For me, it’s really important because we don’t have, at school, a lot of possibilities to work with industry…but it’s really good and really important to also work for the brands."
In its decision making, the jury, which included Thomas A. Bata, Jana Barbati Chadová, global marketing manager for Bata the Brand, Rochova and members of the Bata Global team, focused not only on creativity, originality and innovative approach, but also on the feasibility of the designs and their sales appeal.
Chadová explained: “In 2017, on the occasion of the first Bata Fashion Weekend, we launched a competition of young designers, where groups of talented students from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, introduced and presented their original projects. The finalists of the competition then manufactured samples of their shoes with their own hands in our factory in the Czech Republic.”
Thomas A. Bata, speaking about the awards, added: “We are excited about working with Libena and her students. The project was great fun, and the designers enjoyed designing and then working in the factory. If this support helps them once in their future career, our team will feel immensely proud.”