KUALA LUMPUR - A young shoe designer has become the first Malaysian to win the coveted Overall Gold Award at the fourth International Footwear Design Competition.
Vinky Hor, 28, won over 12 judges with her ladies' boots design called "Tropical Temptations", inspired by Malaysian fruits at the competition held in Guangzhou, China, last month.
"I wanted something that would represent Malaysia, and the colours on our fruits were eye-catching to be featured on shoes," she said at the Malaysia's Shoe Design Talents award ceremony here yesterday.
Hor was among four local shoe designers awarded at the ceremony by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen and shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo.
Dr Ng said their win was testament to the potential and strength of the local shoe industry, which produced RM1bil in annual sales.
"The industry is the sole' of our nation. We have had 60,000 visitors to our last shoe festival, and sold RM6mil worth of shoes," she said, adding that next year's exhibition will be held in Ipoh, home to Malaysia's largest shoe industry.
At the ceremony, Hor received her win of a scholarship of 50,000 yuan (S$10,000) to an institution of her choice, an additional 3,000 yuan in cash, a trophy and certificate.
Malaysia won five awards this year at the competition, the most number since it first joined in 2008.
At another function later in Putrajaya, Dr Ng said the Tourism Ministry is gunning for mandatory rating for hotels in the country, in a bid to maintain a high standard for the industry here.
She said currently there is no existing framework to compel hotel operators to have their premises and services rated, making it difficult to keep tabs on their performance.
"We can make it a condition, for them to get rated or end up not having their licence renewed," she said.