There's a specific type of person, often dressed in head-to-toe Supreme and Stone Island, ears adorned with Air Pod Pros blasting Kanye—but only the old stuff—on their way to get coffee with some liberally splashed oat milk. This person also happens to have a self-proclaimed love with the sneaker industry, knows all the latest drops, and can't comprehend why anyone, even the senile, would wear brands that will remain nameless for the sake of this article.
The Design Museum in London recently reopened with an exhibit that speaks to the person laid out above, but also for anyone who loves art, design, and fashion. But don't let that scare you off, as the exhibition 'Sneakers Unboxed: From Studio To Street" is for everyone, and the show takes viewers through a walking history lesson, all from the perspective of the sneaker.
Have you ever wondered how the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star, The Vans Half Cab, or The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% came to be cultural footwear phenomenons? Or maybe how the sneaker resale market is currently valued at $10 billion in data visualizations from Stock X?" Or how did folks like Michael Jordan and Kanye West infiltrate the shoe industry and really advance the scene?
These are the kinds of questions that get explored throughout the show. The layout of the space is broken down into three areas to highlight the cultural importance within the global market. The first space explores the early days and technicalities of what makes footwear so iconic. The second room investigates the adaptation from different influential historical points—think how the 70s California surf culture impacted the future of sneakers. Lastly, the third room of the museum focuses on the future of sustainability in the footwear industry. And through it all, you'll see some pretty epic shoe design.
The design and layout of the exhibit, created by InterestingProjects, with graphics by Studio LP, proves that sneakers are more than functional pieces of material to help you from hurting the bottoms of your feet. Sneakers are pieces of art, statements, historical lessons, personal identifiers, and in-depth stories.
So whether you’re wearing Kevin Durant’s Nike KD 14’s or a pair of Teva sandals, you’re in for a treat. The show is sure to inspire you to think about art and sneakers in a whole new way; it’s kind of like the modern version of a Dada art movement, but a bit more practical.