Plans are afoot to turn Ipoh into a fashion city something similar to Paris, Milan and Mumbai with emphasis on footwear. This complements Ipoh’s thriving shoe industry which has generated much publicity and interest of late. Dato’ Mah Hong Soon, Perak Executive Councillor for Local Government, Transportation and Health, echoed the sentiments of the state government when he officiated the opening of Malaysia Footwear Design Competition 2010 at Syuen Hotel recently.
“Our booming shoe industry will make this possible provided we are geared towards achieving it”, he told Ipoh Echo. Mah hoped that youths from the state would take footwear designing seriously. “Therefore, the shoe-making factories in Lahat, Bukit Merah and Menglembu should be given all the support needed by Ipoh City Council”, he remarked.
Present at the launching ceremony were K.K. Tham, president of the Perak Footwear Industry Association, the organiser of the event and Tony Ting, president of the Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers’ Association.
The competition was not without surprises. The winner in the men’s category was Saiful Nizam Zakaria, 23. Saiful, a student of Premier Polytechnic Johor Bahru, has visual and hearing impairments. His design won him a trophy and a cash award of RM3,000. “Saiful’s victory means a lot to those with physical disabilities”, said Azlina Ahmad, a lecturer on design and visual communications at the polytechnic. “His talents and creativity have attracted the attention of renowned fashion designer, Bill Keith, in Kuala Lumpur. Bill is keen on having him on his team”, Azlina revealed.
The prizes were given away by internationally acclaimed fashion shoe designer, Dato’ Jimmy Choo.