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UoN student wins global shoe design competition – PHOTOS

A University of Nairobi (UoN) student has been crowned the winner in this year’s Bata Young Designers Challenge.

Cyprian Kavita Kiswili, who is studying a Master’s Degree in Art and Design, was among the young designers who competed in the Czech Republic at Bata Fashion Weekend 2019, held on Saturday night at Prague’s historic Zofin Palace.

Kiswili winning shoe nicknamed ‘Blossom’ draws rich inspiration from the cheerfulness, playfulness and fullness of the bushy Savannah land.

A model showcases a pair of Bata shoes during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall, Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
A model showcases a pair of Bata shoes during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall, Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

The vast, bushy savannah on the edge of Konzo town in Machakos was his inspiration for ‘Blossom’, specifically the blossoming flowers, the chirping birds, and the lively people and insects.

The winning design creates a striking balance between fun and seriousness, taking symbols and icons and expressing them in the form of fashion and is also heavily inspired by illustrations and cartoons.

NEW DESIGNS

Born in Machakos, Kenya, Kiswili works predominantly in the medium of painting and digital illustration and aims to depict beauty and sophistication through a combination of colour, texture and shape.

Bata’s most iconic shoes over its 125-year history are also heavily referenced here, most notable of which is the classic North Star.

A model showcases a pair of Bata shoes during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall, Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
A model showcases a pair of Bata shoes during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall, Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Kiswili was not the only Kenyan who qualified for the finals. Another University of Nairobi (UoN) student, Anita Wambui, was a finalist.

The two applied for the challenge that Bata announced in September last year.

The designers were shortlisted for the competition in Kenya and were required to come up with prototypes of new design shoes from scratch.

H_Art the Band perform on stage during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall in Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
H_Art the Band perform on stage during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall in Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

YOUNG DESIGNERS

They were also required to work in one group before they came up with their individual models and working themes.

The winning shoes in the Czech Republic will be put into limited production and sold at select Bata stores globally.

It was the first time that Bata organised a global competition for young shoe designers.

From left: Ashley Nmoh, Sharon Gesare and Shanky Abbs during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall in Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
From left: Ashley Nmoh, Sharon Gesare and Shanky Abbs during the Bata Fashion Weekend 2019 Watch party held at the Junction Mall in Nairobi on April 13, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

The footwear manufacturer has in the past run a series of ‘Bata Designers Apprentice’, a competition which allows students and emerging designers to showcase novelty in creating new shoe models for the manufacturer.

The designers present their concepts and prototype shoes to a Bata panel of judges who grade their work and determine the winner.

A viewing party was held on Saturday night at the Junction Mall where invited guests watched the crowning live from the Czech Republic.