Kenya: UON Student Wins Bata Designers Apprentice Competition

4 February 2018

University of Nairobi student, Cynthia Allela, is the winner of Bata Designers Apprentice competition and will now have her design sold in select Bata outlets countrywide.

After months of hard work, challenges and practical on-the-job training Cynthia was crowned the winner and presented with a trophy and Sh50,000.

Cynthia demonstrated her creative acumen by designing an adaptable design that can be altered to assume different forms.

The competition was organised by international shoemaker, Bata, as an apprenticeship programme where young emerging designers were required to conceptualize and create an original shoe design.

Speaking to Nairobi News, Cynthia said she believes she took the top prize because of her love for designs and the skills she gained in university and during the apprenticeship.

"I grew up with art and craft. My elder sister is a graphics designer and an animator, while my mother often applied do-it-yourself (DIY) skills in her cookery, knitting, and in creating an assortment of household decorations," she said.

She said it was a dream come true to have her design being marketed by the continent's biggest shoemaking company.

"I look forward to growing as a product designer beyond one product projects to design products in multiple areas and on a large scale basis," she said.

Four young designers from the University of Nairobi and the Technical University of Kenya were the finalists for the competition that started back in September 2017.

There were tens of applications, and after a rigorous vetting process, four students from the two universities made the cut to the final shortlist.

The four spent five months designing and creating a shoe line in a competition that involved intense mentorship, training and networking.

The competition, a first of its kind in Kenya, is a 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.

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