The Design Museum brings together some of the most iconic trainers in history for their new exhibition.
It’s no secret that the trainer world has exploded in the past few years. Whether it’s down to all-star collabs or celebs now rocking the latest drops, the trainer world has grown at an exponential rate. And now sneakerheads can rejoice, as a huge retrospective will be celebrating all things treads with a buzzy exhibition at The Design Museum in London. Collaborating with one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces for trainer and clothing resellers – StockX – the exhibition is every hypebeast’s dream, with trainers on display dating way back to the original Jordans to the brand new Nike Go FlyEase.
Focusing not just on the shoes themselves, but the culture it is attached to, visitors are taken through their history and how each trainer impacted the times. The early beginnings of grime, the crossover into the music industry and the UK casual movement are all highlighted throughout the exhibition, but their stories all date back to basketball. Archive photographs of 70s street games in NYC fill the gallery walls: suede Puma Clydes, Adidas supergroups and the very first Vans are highlighted heavily in the exhibition, shining a spotlight on the very first culture that propelled sneakers to new heights.
Continuing the journey with sections dedicated to highly sought-after collaborations such as the Travis Scott Jordan 1s, Pyer Moss’ vibrant Sculpts and Off White x Air Jordans, the exhibition reflects the growth of sneaker culture over the years and ties it in with technological and societal ideologies.
StockX’s Senior Director Derek Morrison fills us in on why the exhibition is so important, how sneaker culture has changed over the years and how reselling has become a staple part of the culture.
Check out the interview below…
How did you guys get involved with The Design Museum on this exhibition?
When the press release first came out, I thought this was such a great moment for sneaker culture. In just a matter of hours, we were in touch because I started talking about how we would like to collaborate with them and we came on as a partner for the exhibition. We’ve been working very closely with The Design Museum for the past 18 months to really help and support in any way that we possibly can.
Compared to a decade ago, sneaker culture has become a lot more dominant in today’s society, why do you think this is?
If you flashback 10-15 years ago in terms of sneaker culture, the people that were designing were Kim Jones, Futura and Damien Hirst, and they were huge sneakerheads when people didn’t really care about the culture. Now, all these people have reached incredible heights in fashion and design and it provides a whole new lens through which to appreciate sneaker culture in the mainstream. Before StockX, if you wanted to buy into sneaker culture, you had to know somebody, you had to avoid getting scammed and dodge landmines everywhere. StockX dropped down on this new transitional landscape and made a way for people to purchase and participate in the culture safety.
You mentioned protecting reselling as a huge part of the culture, how do you guys go about protecting customers from getting scammed?
The amount that we invest in terms of time and resources just to improve our authentication process is one of the most important things that the business focuses on at the highest level. All of our authenticators go through a very rigorous training process. We have different tests and different certifications internally, making sure that people are being trained to a certain standard. We’re constantly evaluating products, buying things, breaking them down and really getting into the DNA of every element of the product. Before a product even comes to our warehouse, we have so many different processes and checks in place.
You guys pride yourself in being very transparent with pricing, but a lot of sneakerheads are getting frustrated at the resale price, what do you think of this?
It’s interesting because I think in lots of cases, resale prices are actually coming down. Because as the brands see these resale premiums, they’re able to produce more pairs. Historically, we used to see three pairs a month that would be released at £130 at retail, and then £500 at resale – we’re not seeing a lot of this anymore. Look at the YEEZYs for example, they used to be £700-£1000 on resale, but now if you go on StockX, it’s only £20-£30 above retail. And that is a huge drop, mainly down to brands having to fulfil the demand.
And you guys have expanded into clothing and even collectables, why is this?
We realised that it’s not just about sneakers, it’s the culture. We’re constantly thinking, what are the most desirable products? Gen Z makes up a huge portion of our consumer group, so we look at them and see what their passions are, and it spans into gaming, art, design and culture. If you’re really passionate about music for example, what are the most desirable products for you to engage with? Beats Headphones or AirPods for your iPhone. You know, these aren’t classical luxury items, but they’re the most desirable product in those categories. We understand the things that our customers are most passionate about, and we want to continue to expand products that offer them ways to engage with those parts of their lives.
The exhibition is available until September 15, for more information visit designmuseum.com