Kuala Lumpur – The One Academy’s Interior Design student Tee Khai Ming recently emerged champion in ‘Step Up to Color’, a shoe makeover competition at the 7th Malaysia International Shoes Festival (MISF) 2016, Putra World Trade Centre, with his innovative and colorful slipper design.
Based on the festival’s theme ‘Sole of the Nation: A Colorful World of Shoes’, Step Up to Color competition challenged potentially talented college and university students aged 18 and above to express their imaginative designs on blank slippers. The event has also been endorsed by the Tourism and Culture Ministry for seven years.
Tee’s design was inspired by Siamese fighting fish commonly known as Betta fish which flaunts vibrant red, orange, yellow and royal blue colors that intensify when agitated. He aims to invite users and audience to come forward and get in touch with life with courage and boldness which the fish and its colors represent.
The inspiration from Betta fish came in after many experimental attempts to get the right effect and mood. “I got inspired by the Betta fish after I started making my model, which produces a more material and stronger effect. The whole idea was also more solid which helped my design a lot,” Tee explained.
Tee’s reign in this year’s competition follows his endeavor the previous year in Shoe Filming Competition under the same festival where his short film ‘The Slippers’ earned him the first runner-up position and handed him the most liked title, proving the multi-talented side of him.
“Last year, I was very happy to have had the opportunity to make a short film. This year, I wanted to try something different and get fashion knowledge and skills. Designing a simple product such as slippers is interesting yet challenging as it takes more effort to make real difference,” he said.
As an interior design student at The One Academy, Tee credited his college education that allowed him to learn a lot about design development and concepts which can be applied in art. “This competition has allowed me to see that art can be anywhere, our life, our ideas, our inspiration and our dreams,” Tee said.
Besides filmmaking and designing, Tee has previously been an art and stage director for musicals, choir leader, participated in stage plays and published his own sketch/watercolor book.
Besides competition, The One Academy students also excelled at MISF 2016 through an art installation ‘Celebration of Life’ by students Troy Kee Zhao Xiang, Wan Munn Kei, Alven Lim Li Ming, Jeffry Phoon Chen Fung and Eugene Chia Wai Hang.
According to Eugene, the shadow art installation also capitalizes on the beauty of nature using mid-flight “birds” cleverly made of shoe skin that symbolise a form of freedom in life, while the colorful trees indicate the mood of celebration.
“When you want to go outside and set yourself free, per se, what is the first thing you would do before stepping out?” Eugene asked, proving his point and explaining the connection between footwear and freedom.
The One Academy encourages routine participation in relevant industries and competitions to ensure a practical and proven coaching approach. “This has been a good experience that can never be gained in class, and it was a great opportunity for us,” said Troy. “Our lecturers also guided us to develop better concepts and ideas for this competition.”
The One Academy of Communication Design