I went to the Adidas Spezial exhibition in Darwen and I was awestruck at the amount of shoes on display!

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The DECADE exhibition has been put on to celebrate 10 years of the shoe range so I went to check it out!

The Adidas Spezial range, which started in 2014, has had a huge amount of cultural significance so when an exhibition was announced to be in Darwen, I just had to visit.

Darwen was chosen as the place to host the exhibition, called DECADE, as the shoe’s curator Gary Aspden was born and bred in the Lancashire town.

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He said: “Hosting the DECADE exhibition here in Darwen is a way of putting something back into the community where I grew up.

The exhibition featured a gallery detailing past models and designs of the shoe.The exhibition featured a gallery detailing past models and designs of the shoe.
The exhibition featured a gallery detailing past models and designs of the shoe. | Sam Quine

“Some may question why we would choose to do an exhibition like this in a relatively small town rather than amongst the cultural hub of a major city. 

“There are post industrial towns like Blackburn with Darwen all over the UK and I guess the ambition is to demonstrate what can be possible in towns like this with a bit of investment and imagination.”

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When walking into the pop-up store located on Market Street, I was awestruck by the sheer amount of shoes on display.

From collaborations with athletes and famous musicians, to paving a way in the fashion world, the Spezial range had done so much in its ten year lifespan.

Different colourways from throughout the years were all on display for the public to look at.Different colourways from throughout the years were all on display for the public to look at.
Different colourways from throughout the years were all on display for the public to look at. | Sam Quine

The inside of the store was sleek, modern and felt more like a museum, peering into the range’s rich cultural past in every glass cabinet and artsy poster.

This retrospective exhibition also showcased vintage design references, unseen samples, technical drawings, signed footwear and a large selection of rare Adidas Spezial artefacts.

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It's not just shoes that the range have on offer as the exhibition went on to show how they have expanded into streetwear clothing over the years.

The exhibition, which has been running since Friday May 17 and will end on Sunday May 26, also had a special SPZL documentary running in the background which was an amazing watch and I was encapsulated by how far the range has come.

At the launch, there was a private viewing for SPZL friends and family including Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Bernard Sumner (New Order) Goldie, Rowetta (Happy Mondays), Bill Ryder Jones as well as Blackburn Rovers players - Harry Leonard, Ryan Hedges and Scott Wharton.

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Famous faces attended the private viewing including some Blackburn Rovers players.Famous faces attended the private viewing including some Blackburn Rovers players.
Famous faces attended the private viewing including some Blackburn Rovers players. | Jody Hartley

These names indicate the significance the shoe has in different cultural circles and you could see this in store by collaborations they have done with the likes of Liam Gallagher, Stephen Graham and Roy Keane.

Overall, I’d recommend anyone to get yourself down to the DECADE exhibition to learn more about how impactful the Spezial range has been and I personally can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

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