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 in Kenya 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 for applicants – all current undergraduate design students and recent graduates, with priority given to textile, fashion and product designers.
Bata Kenya then chose nine finalists who were then invited to present their portfolios to a panel in Limuru back in May 2017. 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 have been working to design an affordable collection of shoes for the Kenyan market, to be produced in Bata Kenya’s Limuru factory. The short-listed designers have been gaining hands-on experience in designing for manufacturing and product development processes from their visits to the Bata shoe factory in Limuru, and have undergone training in basic footwear design.
The competition is set to wrap-up on the 26th of January 2018, with the winning designer and design announced at an awards gala. The winning designer will walk away with a prize of Ksh 50,000, whilst 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.
HERE ARE THE FINALISTS