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Now Open: A Huge 200-Plus-Shoe Sneaker Exhibition From London's Design Museum Has Arrived in Australia

Taking over HOTA Gallery on the Gold Coast, this Australian exclusive features more than 400 objects.
By Sarah Ward
December 05, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
December 05, 2023
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Calling all sneakerheads: you can get your kicks while looking at kicks at Australia's new Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street exhibition. Making its debut Down Under, this wide-ranging showcase has arrived at Gold Coast's HOTA Gallery, where it's making its only Aussie stop. It's always a good idea to wear trainers when you're walking around a gallery, but they're obviously the only footwear that'll do here.

First staged by The Design Museum in London, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street pays tribute to the footwear's origins and evolution — through sports to fashion, surveying iconic brands and names, and obviously touching upon basketballers Chuck Taylor and Michael Jordan's relationships with the shoes.

In total, more than 200 sneakers are on display at exhibition's six-level Australian base, with HOTA giving over its walls and halls to shoes, shoes and more shoes for the summer of 2023–24. Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street started on on Saturday, November 25, and marks the site's first major design exhibition since opening in 2021.

While a hefty amount of trainers feature, the entire showcase includes 400-plus items. The other objects at Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street span photos, videos, posters, artworks and process material, all helping to explore the journey that the footwear style has taken in its design and culturally.

Attendees can learn more about sneakers that were initially made specifically for getting sweaty, which is where the Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars and Nike Airs come in (and, with the latter, to add to a year that's already seen the movie Air step through the story behind them). Also featuring: the shoes that've become cultural symbols (such as the Vans Half Cab and Reebok InstaPump Fury), future advancements in making kicks (as seen with Biorealize for Puma) and big-name collaborations (Jordan, of course, plus Run-DMC and more).

From there, visitors can check out sneakers that've made a splash on the runway (Comme des Carçons and A-Cold-Wall*, for instance), find out more about plant-based sneakers (such as Veja and Native Shoes) and customisable kicks (as Helen Kirkum and Alexander Taylor are doing), and dive into celebrity endorsements (Travis Scott with Nike, Pharell for Adidas and the like).

Laid out in chapters called 'STYLE' and 'PERFORMANCE', the exhibition's first part goes big on aesthetics and its second on the act of making the best trainers — covering Chuck Taylor's basketball clinics, sneaker culture in New York City and everything that's happened since.

Also, Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street's Aussie run isn't forgetting its location, adding rare homegrown shoes and collaborations to the mix. Remember the Nike Air Presto that the Australian Olympic team wore at Sydney 2000? You'll see it here. The same with the New Balance 997.5 Tassie Tiger and BespokeIND's Melbourne Rules, with the latter made for the 2016 AFL grand final.

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street is the Gold Coast venue's second huge Australian-exclusive in 2023, following Pop Masters: Art From the Mugrabi Collection, New York and its focus on Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring from February–June.

In 2024, the site will welcome Italian Renaissance Alive, the latest multi-sensory art experience from the folks behind Van Gogh Alive and Monet in Paris, giving both locals and tourists alike plenty of reasons to drop by.

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street opened on Saturday, November 25 at HOTA Gallery, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise Gold Coast — head to the exhibition's website for further details and tickets.

Images: Milk and Honey Creative.

Published on December 05, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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