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Contemporary cultural precinct HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast has today announced the Australian premiere of Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, opening 25 November 2023.

First unveiled by The Design Museum, LondonSneakers 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.”

Experience Gold Coast Chair, The Hon. Rob Borbidge AO said: “Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, is a wonderful cultural fit for the Gold Coast. It speaks to an ever-evolving modern icon of contemporary culture, active lifestyles, fashion and sport. Bringing these exclusive exhibitions to the Gold Coast demonstrates the city’s commitment to world class cultural events and to providing the bestexperiences possible for the residents of and visitors to the Gold Coast.”

HOTA’s Interim CEO Mik Auckland said: “Step into HOTA Gallery this summer for Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street, the first major design exhibition to be presented since we opened in May 2021. 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 bepresenting this internationally acclaimed exhibition exclusively in Australia.”

Bradley Vincent, Acting Director, Gallery and Visual Arts, HOTA said: The Design Museum in London is a global leader in the design industry and the perfect partner for HOTA’s first international design exhibition. Since its UK premiere in 2021, Sneakers Unboxed has toured internationally to the Netherlands and Korea, and has continued to evolve with each presentation. We are thrilled to present the HOTA version, which includes an accompanying program exploring the sneaker phenomenon through an Australian lens.”

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 25 November 2023
HOTA Gallery, 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise Gold Coast
Open 10am-4pm daily
Tickets starting from $10

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