spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

Bata – Shoemakers with a Soul

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Bata Spring Summer 2013

We are very familiar with its ubiquitous white canvas shoes, but how many of us know the Bata story?

Every kid my generation grew up with Bata’s white canvas shoes. I have fond childhood memories of painting my canvas school shoes with shoe white, so fond that the Picasso-in-me started painting EVERY shoe in the house until dad found out about his whitened black leather loafers. After I grew up (I’m still young, ahem by the way), I have rarely worn Bata shoes, perhaps not wanting to be reminded of those teenage bloopers. So when I received an invite to preview their Spring Summer 2013 collection, a wave of nostalgia came over me, and more importantly curiosity about how Bata has transformed over time. As I wrote this piece, I found myself reading up on the brand’s history, and highly intrigued by what I found.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Bata Spring Summer 2013 Collection Preview

Bata Shoe Company

Most people would have thought that Bata is a Malaysian or Singapore brand, fact is, it was started in Czechoslovakia way back in 1894 by siblings Tomas, Anna and Antonin Bata. Tomas Bata’s vision was to “shoe the world“, meaning “everyone to own a pair of shoes“. Bata’s aim was thus to offer quality, fashionable and comfortable footwear at affordable prices, so everyone can afford and enjoy a good pair of shoes. A philanthropist given to the cause of building schools, hospitals, and homes, Tomas Bata provided employment and footwear by establishing factories in developing countries where people walked barefoot. Everywhere the brand went; it created new communities and job opportunities.

Known for taking care of its employees, many Bata operations came with medical, educational and social facilities for its employees. There is an employee profit sharing system, which made everyone in the company an entrepreneur, as well as a Bata School of Work which provides education and training for future teams. This is definitely a company anyone would want to work for, one that cares so much for its employees.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

After Tomas’ untimely death in a plane crash in 1932, his son the late Thomas John Bata took over the business. The Bata Shoe Company, under Thomas’ leadership, survived World War II which destroyed the company’s businesses in Europe and the Far East. He rebuilt the business with his wife Sonja from their new home in Canada. The town in which he built the Bata Shoe Company of Canada was named after him: Batawa, Ontario, and a Bata Shoe Museum built.
Photo Credit: Bata Shoe Company

Bata is currently headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland (where a lot of high-end Swiss watches originate) and operates 4 business units worldwide – Bata Europe, Bata Asia Pacific-Africa, Bata Latin America and Bata North America. It has retail presence in over 50 countries, production facilities in 26 countries, employs more than 1 million customers per day, and employs more than 40,000 people. In its history the company has sold 14 billion pairs of shoes.

Bata in Singapore
Bata made its first appearance on 25 August 1931 at Capitol Building in Singapore. Its affordable white canvas shoes went on to become the staple of school-going children and the go-to brand for mothers. The company’s tagline, “First to Bata, then to school” became every household’s motto. Perhaps it was this ability to assimilate so well into the community that many mistook Bata to be a local brand.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

No longer limited to white canvas shoes now, it has brands such as Marie Claire, Ambassador, Comfit, Power, Weinbrenner, Bubblegummers, North Star, etc. for different market segments. With more than 40 stores island-wide in Singapore, it is one of the rare stores where there is a shoe for everyone in the whole family under one roof.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Every season, Bata shoe designers will take reference from the season’s hottest trends and interpret it into a collection of trendy footwear which is stylish, comfortable and affordable.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

I am so digging the candy colour collection this season!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Cute ribbons everywhere!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Sundrops – Where comfort and style blend seamlessly
One of Bata’s newest lines, Sundrops footwear is optimized for comfort in a full range of styles for young women, mature women, and mature young women. These buttery soft shoes are definitely made for walking.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Bata Comfit Collection
Comfort is an important feature in Bata’s Comfit shoes, which comes with double stitching, molded massage insole and soft textile/cambrelle lining to ensure both comfort and style. I have no doubt this will be my very practical mum’s fave. Get Comfortable Today!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

These colourful Marie Claire flats got me at ‘hello”

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Love the rattan detailing and bright colours in this Marie Claire wedge – they go so well together!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

So many shoes – I feel like Cinder-bella!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

I found myself salivating over these studded PataPata flip flops. It would be totally awesome beachwear! Want.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Even the insoles are not overlooked – love the girlie prints! Oh, how can I bear to step on her…

Bata Spring Summer 2013

In addition to shoes, Bata has a collection of bags meant for every occasion

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Weinbrenner for the Great Outdoors
Meant for the casual rugged man, the Weinbrenner line is made up of leather shoes and boots with Goodyear welt construction. Its understated natural tones also makes it one of my Dad’s favourite shoes.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Weibrenner – “Outdoors is Yours”

Bata Spring Summer 2013

North Star – Sneakers for the youths
The lively designs and quality construction make these shoes a popular choice amongst the young, or young at heart like chum D.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Ambassador – Contemporary Classic for the Man
Combining Italian design with handcrafted detail and the highest quality leather, Bata’s premium Ambassador brand is the gentleman’s best friend.

Bata Spring Summer 2013

I was particularly attracted to the ombre tones

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Cinder-fella seeking his true love in the sea of shoes

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Loving the colour of this penny loafers, so classy

Bata Spring Summer 2013

I totally dig this pair of electric blue suede boat shoes!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

I liked them so much, I contemplated getting them. Looks really good eh? Heehee

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Cinderfella found his true love

Bata Spring Summer 2013

And Cinder-bella continued seeking…

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Ta Da – I found mine!

Bata Spring Summer 2013

And an emerald green-blue clutch that doubles up as a sling bag to match my look of the day

Bata Spring Summer 2013

Me and chum D shoepremely pleased with our new Bata shoes and bags from its Spring Summer 2013 collection

Bata Spring Summer 2013

As for me, whenever I wear my new flats, I will think of Tomas Bata and the man’s noble vision to provide affordable shoes and better standard of living for everyone in the world. It’s not merely a pair of Bata shoes on your feet; it’s shoes made with heart and soul.

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Author: spunktitud3

A little post by a fun-loving spunky gal in love with the quirky, the artsy and anything which inspires new creations. Read about her adventures on: spunktitud3.wordpress.com

2 thoughts on “Bata – Shoemakers with a Soul

  1. shoeperb article as usual :)

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