On September 11 2017, Bata’s President for Africa Alberto Errico welcomed four aspiring young designers from the University of Nairobi and the Technical University of Kenya as part of the new “Bata Designers Apprentice” competition.
Bata Designers Apprentice is a Bata Kenya product development initiative that aims to give students and emerging designers the opportunity to create a classic shoe for Bata, while gaining experience working at one of the biggest footwear manufacturer in Kenya and East Africa.
In order to start the project, Esther Kute, product development manager of Bata Kenya, contacted design schools from the University of Nairobi and the Technical University of Kenya who proposed names of their current undergraduate design students and recent graduates, with priority given to textile, fashion and product designers.
From the list provided, Bata Kenya chose nine of the designers interested in the contest, who were then invited to present their portfolios to a panel in Limuru in May. Out of the nine, four designers, Ian Abraham, Cynthia Allela, Moraa Nyabame and Steve Thairu, were selected to take part in the competition.
The four designers are now working to design an affordable collection of shoes for the Kenyan market, to be produced in Bata Kenya’s Limuru factory using existing equipment. Designers are expected to create and submit their own original concept without infringing upon copyrighted material. They are also encouraged to include aspects of technological innovation in their designs.
Bata Designers Apprentice will also provide the selected designers with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in designing for manufacturing and product development processes. The designers have visited the Bata shoe factory in Limuru, and have undergone training in basic footwear design.
The competition will culminate in an award show on the 26th of January 2018. The winning designer will walk away with a prize of Ksh 50,000 while the first runner up will receive Ksh 30,000. The winning designer will also see their shoe design produced as a limited collection, which will then be sold in select Bata outlets countrywide.