Sneaker Collab

19.09.2019 – 26.01.2020


Mudac and Swisssneaks will take part in Lausanne en Jeux !, a Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games’ programme and will celebrate the cultural and sociological history of sport, focusing on an iconic object that has spread way beyond the world for which it was initially created to invade our daily lives and our urbanity: the sports shoe.

The Sneaker Phenomenon

Sneakers, to use contemporary terminology, are without a doubt the object that best represents the hybridisation of luxury and streetwear. Next to easily accessible mainstream designs, a whole scene that features re-editions, designs drawn from archives, collaborations between brands (Anna Wintour and Nike, Kanye West and Adidas, Damien Hirst and Converse), bears evidence to an increasingly detailed, and even aggressive command of the distribution and development of a rich and creative culture, based on dialogue and sharing.

This movement of amalgamation and of breaking down barriers between social classes should be weighed against our contemporary lifestyle. The concept of interconnection has been a part of the DNA of several generations in our globalised societies. The creative potential of this culture has only recently been exploited by the world of luxury. Thus, as has been its habit in the last few years, the world of fashion had its «transfer window» at the beginning of 2018, sending a wave of excitement through every fashion week. Several prestigious brands have announced the arrival of new artistic directors at the helm of their creative studios: Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones for Dior Homme, Riccardo Tisci for Burberry. These three designers all embody a growing phenomenon for fashion houses, i.e. that of blending together high fashion and streetwear, as evidenced by the growing collaborations between prestigious houses and sportswear brands. In 2017, in a similar movement, the monument of French luxury Louis Vuitton teamed up with US brand Supreme, a global icon of skateboard culture.

This trend of artistic directors going from fashion house to fashion house has now taken a different turn, which should be viewed within a more global perspective on a societal level, fashion having always played a central role in cultural relations. The explosion of rap and the emergence of skateboard culture have helped distribute these references and aesthetics in the world of luxury and fashion in general. Although for decades, this subculture freely diverted the dress style of the wealthy, to the great displeasure of luxury brands, nowadays, the latter continuously elicit meetings – with varying degrees of success – between their world, the world of urbanculture and sports.

The Exhibition

The Sneaker Collab exhibition aims to bear evidence, in a global and immersive way, to the positive power of the sneaker phenomenon by evoking its emergence in the 1980s with the Jordan Air brand as well as more recent collaborations and projects. Sneaker Collab hopes to demonstrate how sneakers, a culture as well as a way of life, have triggered a shockwave that has reached the worlds of fashion, music, images and ultimately all levels of contemporary creation and urban culture.

Focused on collaborations, the exhibition also finds its raison d’être in historical aspects, returning to the most memorable projects that have turned this branch of popular culture into a symptomatic object of our times. Genuine instruments of marketing strategy, these collaborations have contributed to transform what was nothing but a sports shoe at first into a cult object that has gone way beyond its initial function to become a fashion accessory.


Joint Curatorship
mudac: Marco Costantini
Swissneaks: David Berguglia, Julian Bessant-Lamour, Philippe Cuendet



The Mudac receives generous support from its main partner Julius Bär

Exhibition Partners ‘Sneaker Collab’:
Lausanne 2020 | Lausanne en Jeux!
Retraites Populaires
Berney Associés
RTS Couleur3
Lausanne Palace
Arsenic – Centre d’art scénique contemporain