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From April 27-29, Bata held the second edition of its Bata Fashion Weekend, at the Palazzo Mezzanotte in Milan, Italy.
The theme of this year's event was “The Sound of Style”, linking the worlds of fashion and music to provide an edgy, rock-inspired weekend that thrilled guests with a variety of runway shows, video presentations and live music. The result was a spectacle that managed to surpass even last year's inaugural event in terms of excitement, style and flair, and the iconic location, the home of the Italian stock exchange in Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world, also added to the grandeur of the weekend.
A total of 80 Bata people attended the event from around the globe, including Bata's executive committee, country managers and other Bata staff, giving 68 interviews to 50 different media organizations. In addition, the BFW 2018 hosted 229 invited guests from 19 countries across four continents. Among the special guests in attendance were several of Bata's brand ambassadors from around the world, including model and actress Maya Ali from Pakistan, and Andrea Serna, model, presenter, reporter, radio DJ and ambassador for Bata Colombia.
Over the course of the weekend, Bata presented over 150 shoes to the public, including some of the most highly anticipated collections for 2018. These included the eagerly awaited B-Flex collection, created in collaboration with Italian shoe designer Alberto Del Biondi, and the new Red Label shoe line, along with new products from Insolia, Bata Heritage and Atletico to name but a few.
On the evening of April 28, Bata Group CEO Alexis Nasard gave an introductory speech at the VIP fashion show event. After wishing the guests an enjoyable evening, he hinted at some of the exclusive events to come, stating: “We are going to surprise you, because surprise is an important element of the marketing of the Bata brand. In a relationship between a consumer and a product, we want to be consistent but we never want to be predictable.”
Following the fashion show, Bata Heritage director Charles Pignal introduced video presentations by the finalists of the Bata Young Designers Award and announced the two winners to the awaiting audience. The award presented by the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague went to Tereza Kanyzova for her "Amulet" shoe creation, with the award from the Politecnico Calzaturiero in Milan going to Andrea Celleste Beggio for her design "Erica”.
The evening then continued with the unveiling of Bata's updated “Me & Comfortable with it” manifesto and with a performance by new Bata ambassador, Lenny, who presented her specially written song “Enemy” to the enthralled guests.
Speaking about the second edition of the BFW, Thomas A. Bata commented: "This year we built Bata Fashion Weekend in the spirit of the concept 'The Sound of Style' as an extension of the global campaign 'Me & Comfortable with it', which promotes healthy self-confidence while fighting against prejudice. The aim was to transform the campaign into real environment of the Bata Fashion Weekend in every point of view."
Catch up with all of the action from the BFW 2018, including the live stream video from the gala event, on the official Bata Facebook page.
On the evening of April 28, Bata Group CEO Alexis Nasard gave an introductory speech at a special VIP event during the second edition of the Bata Fashion Weekend held at the Palazzo Mezzanotte in Milan, Italy.
During his address, Nasard touched on the reasons for the choice of Milan as venue for this year's BFW and the major initiatives that will be rolling out over the coming weeks and months. Below is an edited version of the CEO's speech.
“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It's great to have you here. Welcome to the Mezzanotte palace and welcome to Milan. Milan was not chosen by accident, it's a strong statement for us. It's a strong statement first of all because it shows our commitment to Europe as a company and as a brand.
Second of all, who am I to say it, but we all know what Milan represents as the fashion capital of Italy, of Europe, of the world, so we believe that our BFW taking place in Milan this week has a lot of significance for all of us. I am very excited about the developments that we are going to be sharing with you tonight and I hope you share that excitement with me.
Two years ago we made two affirmations as a company. The first one is that the product is at the center of everything we do. With a world that keeps changing ever more rapidly, with technology, with communication, it is very easy to get confused and to get lost. We sell shoes. And the shoe is a product and we're very committed to it, and we will always be committed to it.
The second declaration we made is that we reject the notion that comfort and style are mutually exclusive. We reject it entirely. And that is why technology-enabled innovation behind comfort is a fundamental pillar of our product strategy as a company. We believe comfort is a dimension that transcends the physical practicality and we are very deeply committed to it. So for anybody who believes that comfort and style is a choice to be made, Bata offers you an alternative, and also an affordable alternative.” Then Nasard moved on to highlight some of the most important products and projects that are being unveiled by Bata in 2018.
“I want to share with you a few of our product initiatives that are going to be coming this year. The first one is Red Label, our global fast fashion collection that we have done in collaboration with the Aldo Group in Canada. This is a collection that is in all key cities in 20 countries today, and is going to expand more than that. That is one of the pillars of our product innovation program.
The second one is B-Flex, which is going to hit the stores in a few months from now. B-Flex is a revolutionary technology that covers the upper of the shoe with specialty material, as well as targeted flexibility in the sole, and we did that with our friend Alberto Del Biondi.
The third one is Bata Heritage. This is an ongoing part of our global product collection, and this year we are launching the Hotshots...a very very cool collection which is coming.
And last but not least we made a special collaboration, together with Alberto (Del Biondi), with a leading institute in Italy to drive a bit of awareness around autism, which as some of us might know is actually an increasing disease in the world. Raising that awareness is really important, and we think it's important beyond our commercial mission that we do initiatives like that which are meaningful for society and are meaningful for our consumers.”
Concluding his speech, Nasard wished guests an enjoyable evening, promising: “We are going to surprise you, because surprise is an important element of the marketing of the Bata brand. In a relationship between a consumer and a product, we want to be consistent but we never want to be predictable.”
From May 4 to 6, Bata Heritage showcased a special Spring/Summer 2018 capsule collection of Bata Tennis and Bata Bullets sneakers featuring iconic characters from the Star Wars franchise at a pop-up store at the Ion Orchard mall in Singapore.
The Star Wars x Bata Heritage SS18 capsule was launched at a dedicated pop-up store at one of Singapore’s most prestigious and glamorous shopping centers, the ION Orchard shopping mall, with the first day of the event coinciding with what has become the annual international Star Wars Day. Over 35 invited media guests, influencers and key opinion leaders attended the opening launch, which drew an estimated crowd of around 2,500 visitors over the course of the three-day event.
Speaking about the reasons for choosing Star Wars characters for the special capsule collection, Charles Pignal, Bata Group Heritage Director, commented: “The retro feel of the original Star Wars by George Lucas was the starting point of the collaboration, as it echoes the legacy of Bata, a company started in 1894 that still produces its iconic styles today.”
Aside from the opportunity to purchase the limited edition collection, attendees at the event also had the chance to win exclusive Star Wars x Bata Heritage merchandise and collectibles through a digital “Game Kiosk” and “Jedi Challenge”, a virtual reality lightsaber battle experience. Visitors could also print free instant photos as a souvenir of the experience via a dedicated photo booth, which generated over 1,800 instant prints over the course of the event.
Media coverage, both before and after the event, spanned both traditional print media, with features in major Singaporean newspapers The New Paper and The Straits Times, and over 25 digital media sites representing a wide range of interests, from geek and popular culture, marketing and men’s and women’s fashion to sneaker and streetwear sites.
The social media campaign to promote the Bata Heritage collection and generate buzz for the launch resulted in an increase of over 4,600 followers on the Bata Heritage Facebook page and over 700 followers on its Instagram account, compared the previous month. In addition, a boosted post featuring Star Wars x Bata Heritage content on Instagram drew 41,231 reach and 1,450 likes, with equally impressive results on Facebook, which saw a reach of 38,440 and 9,014 engagements