Ing. Ludmila Hálkovová, The personality of the year 2020 from the leather industry is Václav Staněk. This title is awarded by a jury composed of representatives of the Association of the Textile, Clothing and Leather Industry, the Czech Footwear and Leather Association, Trade Fairs Brno as and the editors of the World of Textiles & Footwear for the past year. This time for the year 2020. We have always traditionally presented the awards at the February STYL and KABO trade fair in Brno. This year, however, the covid was "in office", so the jury decided to present the titles virtually.

Ing. Ludmila Hálkovová

Ing. Ludmila Hálkovová is a graduate of the University of Economics in Prague, Faculty of Business, specialization in foreign trade and two-year postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Journalism, Charles University in Prague. She gained practical experience in the field of promotion and marketing at the Rapid advertising agency. She participated in the preparation of the Czech Republic's participation in the EXPO Hannover 2000 world exhibition.

She first encountered the issue of textile and clothing production while working at the Ministry of Industry of the Czech Republic. However, he gained a much deeper insight into this activity only during his work in the Association of the Textile, Clothing and Leather Industry ATOK.

Mrs. Hálkovová worked at ATOK for 20 years (2000 -2020). She performed a number of functions here, from the Deputy Director of the ATOK Secretariat, through ensuring contacts with foreign partners and promoting the Czech textile industry at home and abroad, to the implementation of European Union projects.

She participated in ATOK's activities within its membership in the European Association of Textile and Clothing Manufacturers EURATEX, established contacts with partner associations such as the German Gesamtverband Textil und Mode, the Saxon VTI - Verband der Textil Industrie, the Polish PIOT and many others.

It ensured the participation of Czech textile and clothing companies in the so-called official participation of the Czech Republic in selected world fairs such as Techtextil and Heimtextil, in Frankfurt am Main, Texworld in Paris, Rostextil in Moscow and other events.

She also participated in the preparation of ATOK's participation in the STYL fair, of which there were a total of 40. In addition to the technical support of the ATOK exhibition, she also participated in the preparation of events organized within accompanying programs, from the participation of member companies in seminars, professional lectures and fashion shows. only after the presentation of the results of European projects in the implementation of which ATOK actively participated.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and partner associations, it also organized trade missions for Czech entrepreneurs, for example, to the USA, Israel, Germany, North Macedonia, China and Taiwan.

All these activities served to promote the Czech textile and clothing industry at home and abroad, but above all to support cooperation in the field of vocational education, science and research, and especially business contacts.

She participated in the implementation of 15 EU projects focused on vocational education, development of science and technology, as well as on the support of cooperation between European associations before and shortly after the Czech Republic's accession to the EU.

Václav Staněk

Václav Staněk (* 1998) graduated from a sports grammar school in Zlín, but due to illness (diabetes) he knew that he would not be able to live with sports. Already at school, he started a business thanks to the idea that he would design innovate flexible work footwear, which is manufactured by his father's company. He was able to give this shoe a completely new design and by allowing the user to choose not only the cut, but also the upper material, the type of sole and his own logo, he fully personified this shoe. As for the assortment, the most significant additions last year were sneakers made of genuine "leather", on the development of which Václav Staněk and his team worked for a year. In order for production to start at all, Vasky went to the Hithit crowdfunding platform for support in the summer. The target amount was 450 thousand, in the end we managed to collect 5.5 million crowns . Production started and sneakers were added to the permanent offer alongside farmers, low shoes, slippers or sandals. They are produced in several color variants and cuts.

Shoes from Zlín are a concept again and this year they have made their way to the most prestigious business address in the Czech Republic. It is thanks to Vasky - a brand of shoes invented and manufactured by 22-year-old Václav Staněk. Today, shoes are even made for him in four different factories, including his father's shoe company Flexiko. Production averages around twelve thousand pairs of shoes per month. Thanks to orders from the Vasky company, other shoemaking companies can continue to function and have their capacities filled, which they would not otherwise have where and to whom to supply due to the forcibly closed shoe stores. In 2020, the Vasky company supplied footwear for sales worth 140 million crowns, which is an increase of 300 percent compared to 2019. Last year, the company expanded its product portfolio, added sneakers and, recently, clothing and accessories. "At the same time, we also have more experience and more customers are coming back to us, and most of all I believe that our product is simply good," explains Václav Staněk's rocket rise.

They make no secret of the fact that the most famous shoemaker in the world, Tomáš Baťa, is the biggest inspiration for him as a native of Zlín. He is trying to compensate for the increase in turnover and the number of shoes produced in each year of business - and so far he is doing well. " Baťa made 240,000 pairs of shoes at the age of 24, I still have two years to do that, " he laughs.

At the same time, Václav Staněk follows the opposite path than a number of established retailers, who clear stores in shopping centers and on expensive streets and move only to the online world. That's where Vasky started. " I think that for our range, for shoes, we need omnichannel sales, online and in stores where people can try on shoes, " he describes the sales strategy.