It’s hard to look back at 90s nostalgia without recalling the all too familiar shoe brand Bata. Memories of strapping on those ubiquitous black school shoes, changing into white sneakers before running off to PT, and eagerly slipping on blue-strapped chappals when returning home come to mind when recollecting moments from our youth. From mom to the maid—Bata shoes were a closet staple for everyone in the family. Mainly, because they were the perfect everyday footwear: easily available, affordable, and comfortable.
Bata sent our Fashion & Beauty Director Meriam Ahari to Prague to learn more about the new direction the iconic shoe brand is taking. It turns out, she discovered much more than she anticipated.
Think you know Bata better than you know the lyrics to “Tujhe dekha toh yeh jana sanam”? Here are 8 things about the brand that just might surprise you:
1) Bata is actually pronounced Baht-ya.
2) Bata has been around since 1894. In fact, some of their oldest styles are still relevant today.
3) Bata created a shoe called Baťovka, which was revolutionary at the time because it was the first shoe that combined both leather and canvas.
4) The Bata family opened up a university called Tomas Bata University (located in Zlín) where they teach design, communication, business, and more.
5) Twenty million Indian girls are denied an education each year. Bata started the Bata Children’s Progam eight years ago that raises funds to help girls attend school and receive healthcare benefits. (For INR 3,300, one girl can attend school for an entire year).
6) Most of us have spent our lives thinking Bata was a local Indian brand. Turns out, we aren’t the only ones who think Bata is homegrown. Many of the editors from Italy, Switzerland, and elsewhere (even from the small island of Mauritius) who attended Bata Fashion Weekend also believed that the shoe brand originated from their own country. Bata’s Head Of Global Marketing Jana Barbati Chadová weighs in, “The company is historical, it expanded many years ago and they had a really brilliant business strategy. They settled in various countries and started building a very strong presence in all regions.”
7) This month, Bata launched their first ever Young Designers Challenge in which they will manufacture the winning designs as part of a limited-edition collection. The winners of the 2017 challenge are Adam Kost and Linda Zabilkova.
8) Comfort has always been key for Bata, and even though the brand is pushing for a sexier image, their priority remains the same. “Launching soon is their Insolia technology which is geared toward making high heels more comfortable. Insolia technology creates better weight distribution so you don’t fall forward like you would in stilettos. Instead, you feel taller, posture is straightened, and you’ll experience less pain.”
Check out more pics of Meriam at Bata Fashion Weekend 2017 in Prague.
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What’s your most nostalgic Bata memory? Tell us in the comments below!