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The Rise of Sneaker Culture

Hosted by: Art Gallery of Western Australia

Originating in Toronto, the Rise of Sneaker Culture examines the sneaker’s fascinating social history, from its origins in the mid-nineteenth century to the present day as a status symbol of urban culture.

Pierre Hardy Poworama 2011

With its dynamic combination of scholarship and popular appeal, Perth audiences will be introduced to iconic and incredibly rare shoes from the 1830s to today.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture features sneakers from a range of significant private collectors, museums, and archives, including Adidas AG, Converse Archives, Kosow Sneaker Museum, Nike Archives, Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, and Reebok Archives.

Among them are 1860s spiked running shoes, an original 1923 Converse All Star/Non Skid, a pair of 1936 track shoes, the original Air Force 1 and early Adidas Superstars, as well as contemporary sneaker collaborations with prominent figures such as Damien Hirst, Jeremy Scott, Rihanna and Kanye West.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture also features sneakers and related prototype drawings from the archives of Nike, which span the career of legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, as well as a complete presentation of Air Jordans I–XX3 on loan from the Kosow Sneaker Museum which highlight the pivotal role this coveted series of sneakers has played in the rise of contemporary sneaker culture.

Sneakers have long been loved as a staple of casual fashion, transcending gender, age, and socioeconomic categories to become the footwear of choice for billions across the globe. The selection of approximately 150 sneakers in The Rise of Sneaker Culture will be richly contextualised with film footage, photographic images, and design drawings, creating a backdrop of the social history, technical innovation, fashion trends, and marketing campaigns that have helped shape contemporary sneaker culture over the past two centuries.

The Rise of Sneaker Culture is organised by the American Federation of Arts and the Bata Shoe Museum. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum.


Image credit - 

Pierre Hardy

Poworama 2011

Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, gift of Pierre Hardy
Photo: Ron Wood

Courtesy American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum


Event details

Date: Sat 13 May 2017 - Mon 04 Sep 2017

Time: 10:00am - 05:00pm

Price: Free

Location: Perth Cultural Centre, Perth


Contact name: Art Gallery of WA

Phone: +61 8 9492 6600