DECADE – 10 Years of adidas SPZL Exhibition

Published Thursday 25 April 2024 at 16:02

adidas SPZL has today revealed more details about its much-anticipated DECADE – 10 Years of adidas SPZL Exhibition – in Darwen from May 17th-26th.

Highlights include:

  • Limited edition Blackburn SPZL (DECADE pack) X Nightsafe shoe launch
  • 10th Anniversary DECADE book launch
  • Education programme for schools and colleges including talks and film screenings

Featuring the complete adidas SPZL footwear archive and highlights from the 10 years of apparel collections,  this retrospective exhibition will showcase vintage design references, unseen samples, technical drawings, signed footwear and a large selection of rare adidas SPZL artefacts. 

The exhibition will be a celebration of adidas SPZL’s 10th anniversary.  

 Jody Hartley (Please Credit) – re-sized

Blunt Shank – a bespoke Shoemaker, designer and restorer will be hosting a 5 day educational program for local students in partnership with Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

On the 22nd May, there will be an intimate screening of past adidas Spezial films followed by a Q&A with the curator of the range Gary Aspden and SPZL film director Nick Griffiths (&SON) at the Darwen Library Theatre.  

On Friday 24th May a special release of the new Blackburn SPZL (DECADE pack) X Nightsafe edition shoe will launch exclusively at the exhibition raising funds for Nightsafe. Limited to only 100 pairs, the trainer features a unique red leather swing tag and Nightsafe branded sock liner. 

This limited-edition shoe is part of the new DECADE pack, a celebratory drop that features 4 updated bring backs from the adidas SPZL archive. Further information to be announced soon.

The new educational, retrospective adidas SPZL DECADE book will launch at the exhibition. This collector’s item showcases the full adidas SPZL footwear archive alongside detailed product descriptions, photography and quotes from SPZL’s friends and family including – Liam Gallagher, Vicky McClure, Ashley Walters, Noel Gallagher, Stephen Graham and more. There will also be exclusive celebratory adidas SPZL merchandise including a 10th anniversary charity tee and pin badge.

Darwen Live, the UK’s biggest free music festival that has several stages across Darwen will take place from the 25th-26th May, coinciding with the closing weekend of the exhibition.           

Admission to the exhibition is free, but donations to Nightsafe are encouraged. 

Sign up to for further announcements.

Paul Husband (Please credit)

Speaking of the event, Gary Aspden, curator of SPZL – a proud Darrener, said:

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

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.

This new exhibition will once again attract thousands of people to Blackburn with Darwen and we’re looking forward to running it over the same weekend as Darwen Live – the largest free music festival in the country.

Denise Park, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, added:

We’re proud of Gary and what he’s achieved with adidas, especially his super successful Spezial line with many pieces celebrating his roots here.

For Gary to choose to once again host an international event in our borough is incredible and we can’t wait to see the buzz it’ll create.

Indeed, Gary has been truly visionary in his determination to help regenerate our towns through culture, something we’re passionate about here in Blackburn with Darwen and are really making waves with.

His journey from an East Lancs lad to a curator with adidas is fascinating and we hope this new exhibition will help inspire others.

 adidas SPZL  

A capsule collection of footwear, apparel and accessories curated by Gary Aspden. It is a premium, archive inspired range that utilises classic adidas aesthetics to create modern products. Vintage adidas apparel is reinvented in new fabrics and updated cuts while the ‘SPZL’ footwear transforms classic adidas silhouettes into new hybrid styles. 

Alongside its fundamental commitment to sport and performance, adidas has a rich history in leisurewear dating back to the early 1970s. adidas Spezial sets out to provide an updated vision of this chapter of the adidas story. It celebrates those touchpoints where adidas has intersected with popular culture, both on and off the pitch. 


A local charity that works with young people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness and provide accommodation, day centres with information, advice and guidance. They support with emergency needs and empower the young people of Blackburn, Darwen and the surrounding areas to play a positive part in their local community. 

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