Her shoes are her 'babies'

SINGAPORE - Uzbek model Sevara Mirkhusanova, 25, beat seven other finalists in the grand finale of the inaugural The Art of Shoes footwear design competition with her collection titled Back to Nature.

The competition, which took place yesterday afternoon at The Cathay, was held in conjunction with the launch of the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications Diploma in Fashion Technology (Footwear Design and Product Development) programme.

The course is jointly developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre (Taf.tc) and Ars Sutoria, an internationally renowned Italian footwear institution.

The model, who has been in Singapore for almost four years, won the top prize of $1,500 in cash, a sponsored opportunity to attend the WSQ Diploma in Footwear Design and Product Development and a sponsored trip to Micam Milano 2014, the world's leading footwear fair held in Milan, Italy.

She said: "The feeling (of winning) is amazing. My motto is 'hope for the best and expect the worst', so I really didn't expect this." Miss Mirkhusanova calls her shoes her "babies" because of the long process she went through since August last year, from the moment of inspiration to holding the final product in her hands.

"The theme (for the competition) was Summertime... and I was inspired by my childhood..." she said.

When asked about future plans, she said that she wants to go into shoe design as a career.

Ms Katie Zoey Ho, 32, the runner-up of the competition and the winner of $1,500 and a sponsored chance to obtain the WSQ Diploma in Footwear Design and Product Development, is a paper crafter by profession.

She said: "Designing shoes isn't that different from crafting with paper, it's just a matter of working with different elements."

All the finalists had to take part in a four-day workshop in August last year, where they were taught skills ranging from the designing of footwear to choosing the right materials for their creations.

The designs they created during the workshop were then sent overseas for manufacturing, before they were sent back to Singapore for the competition this year.

According to Ms Sandra Tan, 38, sales and marketing manager of Taf.tc, the competition was also held to discover new talent for the footwear industry.

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