The idea was to stylise the Bata brand with a renewed and uber cool look and demonstrate to the world that their favourite shoe brand is transforming, to remain as relevant as it has always been. “With the relationship between the consumer and the product Bata wants to be understood but never predictable, because predictability in a relationship is the kiss of death,” said Alexis Nasard, CEO, Bata. And the Bata Fashion Weekend, held in Milan, Italy on 27 and 28 April, has served that very purpose; it was an experience for customers and fans to get to know the true art behind the footwear design and how Bata is making comfort sexy and making sexy comfortable.
The weekend was packed with activities like catwalks that witnessed elegant fashion shows, choreographed around “The sound of style” - the theme of this year's event. Also, there were unique exhibitions of upcoming exclusive Bata collections, featuring the global pre-launch of B-flex. They also unveiled an exclusive capsule collection, created as a result of the Bata Young Designers Challenge, handcrafted by students of the participating leading fashion schools and embellished with bohemian crystal components. Some of the attractions included Creative Workshops where you could unleash your creativity by styling-up Bata original sneakers with colours and crystals from Preciosa, and pop-up stores where you could purchase limited edition shoes etc. Exclusive Bata collections like the global pre-launch of B-Flex - an extraordinary combination of technology, design and comfort, the super comfortable heels of the Insolia line, the Atletico sneakers infused with an elegant retro feel, Bata Heritage limited edition shoes and many others were the main attractions of the weekend,
Bata is a global company with European roots and essence. Their product designs are developed in Italy by some of the most talented designers in the industry. “We want our customers to feel comfortable in their own skin. The world is not about looking pretty, behaving nicely or fitting the standards. It is about living life the way you want to. And that's what Bata is; a brand that encourages diversity and female empowerment, which strengthens one's confidence. Our true selves should be just as comfortable to wear as our shoes. Eventually, the brand role is to empower women and men so they feel good about themselves,” said Marcos Canovas, Global Brand Manager, Bata, who is in charge of making Bata products cooler, sexier and more comfortable.
“COMFORTABLE WITH IT”
This year's theme, “The Sound of Style” was not only reflected in the stage design, but also in the programme, accompanying activities, choreography, and the direction of the fashion show. The entire two-day weekend event was streamlined to conform to the theme while maintaining the main umbrella of “Comfortable with It.” Bata wants to promote everyone as they really are; everyday heroes with incredible strength of character and a positive outlook to life. That's the reason why Nidhim Kochhar, a professional bodybuilder who had his left foot amputated after a motorcycle accident, was present during the Bata Fashion Show.
Nidhim courageously returned to the stage and walked the ramp during the runway shows hosted during the event, breaking the common stereotype of “amputated and weak”, with the “Me & Comfortable with It” campaign. Along with Nidhim, was Lenka Filipova aka Lenny a singer with a unique voice, and one of the greatest talents to have ever emerged from the Czech Republic. She perfectly represents the Bata's “Me & Comfortable With It” campaign as she is a true personality in her own right. She does not fit the regular stereotypes defined for young women, but instead overturns them. Lenny is the new face for the brand, with a spotlight on women, as it is crucial to remind them that every woman can be beautiful and comfortable with herself in every situation in everyday life. Bata continuously supports women's empowerment, as it is still one of the most important global topics.
BATA YOUNG DESIGNERS
This year, two entities participated in the challenge; UMPRUM (Academy of Arts Architecture & Design in Prague, Fashion and Footwear Design Studio), which participated in the inaugural edition in 2017 and POLITECNICO CALZATURIERO, and both of them featured six candidates each. This year's talent contest was organised in partnership with the high-end Italian shoe manufacturer Kalliste, and the iconic Czech crystal maker Preciosa. Jana Barbati Chadová, Head of Global Marketing at Bata, explains “Cooperation with universities is important, as it is crucial to identify and further support young talented designers, bring them on board and let them grow with Bata. It is with pride that Bata is announcing cooperation with the two institutes – Kalliste' and Preciosa. Moreover, contest winners will have the chance to produce a limited edition collection, which will be sold at select stores worldwide.”
BATA HERITAGE COLLECTION
In 2014, to celebrate Bata's 120th anniversary, Charles Pignal, great-grandson of Thomas Bata, started to dig into the rich product history of the Bata Company, and launched the Bata Heritage collection to showcase the heritage products from their vast archives of shoes that had a real impact in many different countries, starting with the Bata Tennis shoe, which had sold over 1 billion pairs since its inception in India in 1936. Other such timeless classics include the Bata Bullet and Bata Safari, Bata X Wilson by John Wooden, Bata Hotshots, Bata Heritage X Star Wars. All these heritage products are a key part of the Bata experience and help tell a beautiful story of continuous innovation.
For Spring/Summer 2018, Bata Heritage showcases the iconic Star Wars characters and a capsule collection of Bata Bullets and Bata Tennis. “The retro feel of the original Star Wars by George Lucas was the starting point of the collaboration, as it echoes the legacy of Bata, a company started in 1894 that still produces its iconic styles today,” says Charles Pignal.
Adding to Pignal's comments, Nasard added that the Heritage collection is an ongoing part of their global collection and this year they are also launching the Hot Spots special collection from Kurt Cobain.
Shoes are the centre of everything Bata does and keeping in sync with the ever changing world Bata rejects the notion that comfort and style are mutually exclusive, and that is why technology enabled innovations behind comfort is the foundation of their product strategy.
Founded in 1894, Bata is the world's leading shoemaker by volume, designing stylish and comfortable footwear at surprisingly affordable prices. Bata is a family-owned business serving more than 1 million consumers a day in their 5,300 stores and locally-based in 23 Bata-owned manufacturing facilities across five continents. Bata operates in almost 100 countries around the world, and with 220 million pairs of shoes sold every year, and ranks among the largest global shoe brands.
Photo courtesy: Bata