‘Sneaking Into Fashion’: The Rise & Fame of the Trainer

The trainer is having a moment in 2012, thanks in part to London’s sporting summer and those winning strides of one Mo Farah across the finish line which drew all eyes – first to those whiter than white teeth – and then down to his gold-worthy track shoes. Javari.co.uk will present the ‘Sneaking Into Fashion’ exhibition, documenting trainers through the ages and their role in modern culture, from 18-28 October in London’s Covent Garden. Alongside Farah’s footwear, the trainers that took fellow athlete Roger Bannister to sporting glory when he ran the first under 4 minute mile in 1950 will also be on show as well as the fashion soles of Brit Pop badboys Liam and Noel Gallagher.

The exhibition will deconstruct and explore the history, evolution and reinvention of the trainer through the decades as it has found its place in many areas of the cultural domain, from practical and educational to stylish and luxurious. A pair of Gucci tennis trainers, circa 1980, denote the first dalliance between a fashion brand and the functional sports shoe, while artist Peter Max’s 1960s design represents the same of art and sport. From a collaborative design between Vivienne Westwood and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren to Spice Girl Mel B’s chunky Buffalo boots, the exhibition spans the decades as far back as the 1920s when the trainer made its debut onto the style scene.


Far removed from their humble beginnings, the trainer has become both coveted and collectable, staking their place firmly in the world of celebrity, fashion and modern culture. A pair belonging to Kanye West realised $90,000 at auction this year purely due to their iconic owner and fashion designer Isabel Marant added heels to her version and turned Beyonce into her very own Cinderella when she donned them for a turn on the world stage. No longer sequestered to the echo-filled high ceilinged school gyms and grass-worn tennis courts; the trainer has become a staple of the fashion wardrobe.


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