Brooklyn is amazing. It has tons of cool parks and museums, specifically the Brooklyn Museum. It’s huge and super easy to get to — just take the 2 or 3 subway line to Eastern Parkway/ Brooklyn Museum. But, let’s face it: you already know about how awesome this borough is and its beloved museum. Though, what you may not know is that the Brooklyn Museum is featuring an exhibit that has been gaining a lot of attention: The Rise of the Sneaker Culture.
The exhibit, running up until October 4, 2015, visually discusses the change in perception of sneakers from strictly street-wear, specifically catering to runners, basketball players, etc., to transforming into an idolized pair of shoes that have gotten interest from mainstream culture (i.e., rappers and designers).
My friend and I decided to venture over the bridge to go check it out. We chose a Thursday because it’s the only day that the museum stays open past 6 p.m., excluding those first Saturdays of the month.
As soon as we walked in, there was a huge line with a lot of fashionably dressed people, which was no surprise. As we approached the desk to get our ticket, the friendly front desk attendant asked, “Are you guys here for the Swizz Beatz event?” For anybody that is not familiar with hip-hop/rap, Swizz Beatz is a monster producer who has done tracks for Jay-Z, T.I., Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Ludacris. On this night, he was to perform a full-on original Swizz DJ set. After getting our tickets, we decided to make the most out of our evening and see both the exhibit and the performance.
The exhibit was fascinating. It featured sneakers from Reebok, Nike, Puma, Converse and every single shoe Michael Jordan has ever designed. The exhibit begins with a mini history lesson on sneakers, how they were only meant to be functional for the “good old boys” who ran track or did shot put. While we saw those functional sneakers morph into works of art, we also saw trends resurface from shoes that were almost 100 years old. Apparently, history repeats itself (although, we don’t really miss the 80’s).
Look at my friend’s choice of footwear for the evening (first picture) and some running shoes from the 1830’s. Notice the similarities?
Converse, Pink Reeboks and a brand called PONY (Product of New York) — these shoes are my new obsession.
The remaining sections were all about collaborations, from high-end designers to rappers and other basketball players. Some highlights were (from the top) Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Pierre Hardy (the POW), and obviously the red soled Louboutin.
And below we have the Yeezy’s by Kanye West, a collaboration between Giuseppe Zanotti and Kid Cudi and last but not least a colorful partnership between LeBron James and Nike.
As I rounded the corner to check out the remainder of the exhibit, I heard a small commotion. Swizz had arrived.
Navigating my way around the museum became pretty difficult by the time the masses had gotten word that he was in the area. I couldn’t exactly hear what he was saying when he started to talk, but I knew it had something to do with his massive shoe collection. He’s a self-proclaimed sneaker head, has released his own sneaker and is the Creative Director of the Reeboks Classics line.
The crowd started to grow and we headed downstairs to get our seats for Swizz’s performance.
He was great at hyping up the crowd, mixing on the spot and, of course, wearing fantastic sneaks.
In conclusion, go visit this exhibit. The shoes are something to marvel at, the museum is amazing with many other interesting exhibits and you never know who might show up!