If you’re Singaporean, chances are you’ll know Bata. I used to buy shoes from the brand for school, but then again who didn’t? With its new direction however, it’s very likely that you’re not going to “buy and throw away” anymore.
Bata is such a household name and a staple in every Singaporean’s life, so it’s pretty surprising that many are still unaware that Bata isn’t some Asian brand for all of us to buy school shoes from.
Bata is in fact a Czech brand, named after the Bata siblings who started it. Bata has done really well for a brand that everyone likes to ignore. It’s been around longer than many of its competitors and it doesn’t look set to disappear anytime soon.
So we’ve established that the brand is pretty much an OG (original gangsta) when it comes to shoes, and that it’s moved past the label of everyday shoes for school kids. Bata has now emerged as a serious competitor in a market that’s slowly taking over the world.
We Singaporeans are a pretty fashion conscious bunch. Whilst there are the truly bold that stand apart from everyone else, there’re also the ones who seamlessly match basic tops with basic bottoms and still look crisp.
If Uniqlo and H&M have taken over as household names that are both affordable, fashionable and basic enough to fit everyone’s wardrobe, then Bata can do the same for shoes. It’s actually very conceivable that Bata could be the everyday shoe once again.
So while it’s not going to be turning heads, this is a big step in the right direction for the old Prague brand. A brand which held its first fashion weekend in Prague this year, a milestone for the 123-year-old label.
In July, Bata unveiled its new manifesto “Me & Comfortable With It”. It’s basically a new campaign that says that you can wear any pair of Bata shoes and feel the comfort to do anything you want. I interpret that as the shoe that’s also the “little black dress” to any woman’s wardrobe.
There’s also a new range called Bata Heritage, which features a collection of heritage products from its vast archives of shoes. These are some of Bata’s most classic products from around the world and the brand hopes that it may resonate well with the young working adults and students.
This is also mainly in part down to the new chief at the helm, Lebanese CEO Alexis Nasard who is the brain behind Bata’s two new characters (Angela and Roberto) who define its target market.
The imaginary duo are thought to be the muse for all designs going forward at Bata. Used globally, the duo is said to be within the age range of 20 – 35, essentially the young working adult. It’s also the perfect age range for those starting a family, yet are not too old to have given up on looking good.
Bata’s evolution is evident not just in the designs of the shoes but also in the storefront. With a new store in Vivocity, it’s gone from a dreary reminder that it’s time to head back to school, to a glitzy show parlour.
The new store in Vivocity boasts screens that showcase the latest fashion trends as well as the latest technology that goes into the shoes, such as the Bata Insolia which helps improve the comfort in high-heeled shoes.
Bata’s staff too have undergone training to provide the information and service needed to cater to a younger audience. They’ve seen success in their Westgate outlet that opened earlier in the year, and believe they’ll hit the ground running.
Bata knows that it sells school shoes, and it doesn’t want shy away from that. The brand wants to journey with consumers through their lives – starting with school, moving on to tertiary with something more casual, and onto their first job with their first pair of formal shoes.
Bata goes one beyond that and is even venturing into premium Italian leather shoes that could give bespoke labels a run for their money.
At the rate and ease at which it has taken to its new image, it’s easy to say that Bata shoes could just become a pair I see in my collection sometime in the very near future.