Northern ‘Sole’ - A Celebration Of Design, Street, Style And Creativity

Sneaker culture kickstarts an event which brings design, street style, photography, fashion and creativity all under one roof on Saturday 17th September 2016.

The exclusive Adidas collections featured in the current exhibition, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, have inspired The Bowes Museum to open its doors to sneakerheads, stylists, designers and anyone with an interest in what makes compelling, creative, contemporary street culture.

Experience first-hand the skills involved in the creative interpretation of the rich street style culture of the UK, visit the Shoes: Pleasure and Pain exhibition, and share in the obsession that lies at the heart of design, all in the unique setting of The Bowes Museum, at this fantastic event, which is FREE for under 25s who register online

Register Here

The Adidas collections in the exhibition belong to two passionate Northern collectors of the brand, Ross MacWaters and Neil Pestell, who own 2,600 pairs and counting between them. They were delighted to lend some of their iconic footwear to create an exclusive ‘trainer wall’ in the show, following the Museum’s approach to acknowledged authority Stephen Donald, from Potency. The wall is an addition to the exhibition organized by the V&A, and fittingly forms part of the ‘obsession’ theme.

To complement the trainers, visitors can explore the technology and style of the top brands on the app created by U-DOX - an innovative digital version of the Thames and Hudson book Sneakers: The Complete Collectors’ Guide installed next to the sneaker display.

The two collections span more than 50 years of the brand – Neil has a pair of blue ‘Ford Fiesta’ trainers from 1975, made to coincide with the launch of the Ford Fiesta car, which he occasionally wears even though they are the only known surviving pair of the 100 made.

Ross likens his mainly post-2000 collection to ‘laying down good wine,’ usually buying in his size even though 95% of his shoes remain unworn. However, he did splash out £1,600 on a rare pair of ZX 8000 that Adidas made in a single size, UK 8.5, which are much sought after as there are thought to be only 50 in the world.

However, the key moment for the brand came in the mid 1980s when the group Run-DMC began wearing ‘Superstars’ – created as a basketball shoe rather than a fashion item - simply because they liked them. Adidas learned of this and a number of its executives were persuaded to attend a gig at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where the band urged audience members to each take off a trainer and wave it in the air during a performance of their song My Adidas, creating a fusion of lifestyle, music and trainer culture which ultimately resulted in a $1 million endorsement deal for Run-DMC just to represent the brand. A pair of iconic Superstars is on show in the exhibition.

“It was a difficult choice as to what to include on the trainer wall, but we went for diversity – classic models from Europe, Asia and America – with the aim of displaying the best mix of what’s happened in Adidas over the years,” said Stephen, who helped Ross with his choices.

“The Museum has done a fantastic job in the way it’s displayed the trainers,” added Ross. “They sit well with the other exhibits in the show.”

For potential ‘sneaker heads’ young and old, Neil and Ross offered advice on how to begin, with both stressing the importance of buying only what you like rather than chasing what other collectors buy simply to sell on, although they both admitted to ‘spending more than I should’.

Shoes: Pleasure and Pain runs at The Bowes Museum until 9th October 2016

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Notes to editors:

  • The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes. Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods.
  • The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a Major Portfolio Museum, receives support from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport through the Arts Council England’s Renaissance programme. Additional revenue funding specifically for the Museum’s acclaimed exhibition programme is provided by The John Ellerman Foundation and The Friends of The Bowes Museum.
  • The Bowes Museum has recently undergone major redevelopment. This work was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation.
  • Normal admission to the Museum: Adults £10.50, Concessions £9.50, Students £6.00, Six Month Pass £16.00, Carers and children Free (under 16s). Admission allows access to exhibitions, permanent displays and some events. Admissions are donation inclusive and are eligible for Gift Aid. If you do not wish to make a charitable donation or are not a UK taxpayer admission prices are: Adults £9.25, Concessions £8.50, Six Month Pass £14.00, Children (under 16) and carers free.
  • The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 0191 301 8531, www.discoverdurham.co.uk
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