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A Massive Sneaker Exhibition with 200-Plus Shoes Is Coming to Australia From London's Design Museum

In an Australian exclusive, 'Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street' will feature more than 400 objects, and mark HOTA Gallery's first major design exhibition since opening in 2021.
By Sarah Ward
September 25, 2023
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By Sarah Ward
September 25, 2023
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It's always a good idea to wear sneakers when you're walking around a gallery, but they're the only kicks that'll do when Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street arrives Down Under. First staged by The Design Museum in London, this exhibition 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 will be on display during Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street's Australian-premiere and Australian-exclusive season at the Gold Coast's HOTA Gallery. The six-level spot will give over its walls and halls to shoes, shoes and more shoes over the summer of 2023–24, starting on on Saturday, November 25, and marking the site's first major design exhibition since opening in 2021.

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

Expect to 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 set to feature: 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).

Attendees will also 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.

"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," notes Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street Curator Ligaya Salazar.

"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."

"As an active city with a vibrant street culture and enthusiasm for fashion, summer on the Gold Coast is the perfect time and place to celebrate the iconic footwear phenomenon. We are thrilled to be presenting this internationally acclaimed exhibition exclusively in Australia," added HOTA's Interim CEO Mik Auckland.

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.

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street will open 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: Ed Reeve, Design Museum London.

Published on September 25, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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