HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast has today announced the Australian premiere of Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, opening 25th November 2023.
First unveiled by The Design Museum, London, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street explores one of the most universal design objects, bought and worn by millions of people worldwide every day.
An Australian exclusive, the blockbuster summer exhibition at HOTA Gallery will present over 400 objects, including over 200 shoes, process material, photography, posters, videos and artworks, charting the design and cultural journey of sneakers.
From iconic collaborations that shaped the industry over the years with athletes including Chuck Taylor and Michael Jordan, sneakers like the Reebok InstaPump Fury, the Vans Half Cab, and the Asics Gel Lyte III, which became cultural symbols of our time, to runway reinventions by Comme des Carçons, Sacai, A-Cold-Wall* and Craig Green, this exhibition surveys a phenomenon that has challenged performance design, inspired new youth cultures and shaken the world of fashion.
Looking towards a future of sustainable footwear, the exhibition also shines a light on the designers working to make this industry change, from plant-based sneakers by brands including Veja and Native Shoes, to customised designs from Helen Kirkum and Alexander Taylor.
Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street Curator Ligaya Salazar said:
Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street reveals the role young people from diverse backgrounds have played in making individual sneakers into style icons and in driving an industry now worth billions. The exhibition also gives behind-the-scenes insight into new upcycling and sustainable design practices, unseen prototypes predicting the future of performance design, and streetwear and fashion collaborations that changed the face of the industry.
The first chapter of the exhibition, STYLE, examines the influence of social movements and youth culture on sneakers. Originating in New York during the 1970s, the basketball and hip-hop communities elevated the sneaker from sportswear accessory to cultural symbol through the likes of Clyde Frazier and Run-DMC.
The exhibition follows the ongoing story of the global evolution of sneakers style, from its origins through to the impact of high-end fashion collaborations and celebrity endorsements including Colette, Sean Wotherspoon and Travis Scott with Nike, and Pharell for Adidas.
The second chapter, PERFORMANCE, explores the new technologies, processes and materials by designers in sport science, in a quest to make their shoes technically the best. From the iconic early Converse ‘Big 9’ and materials from basketball clinics run by Chuck Taylor in the 1950s, to the record breaking Nike ‘Alphafly NEXT%’ and self-lacing ‘Fit Intelligence’ shoe by Puma.
The exhibition also features a number of unseen prototypes alongside futuristic designs from the past and present. A journey through the design process behind today’s most inventive shoes, examples include a brand using blockchain certification, the world’s first biologically active shoes developed by MIT Design Lab and Biorealize for Puma.
Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, From 25th November 2023, HOTA Gallery, Gold Coast