Playground
The design of sneakers

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2. At the beginning, the Hip-hop culture

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“In the ‘80s it didn’t matter if a kid was poor, rich, white, whatever – if he had on the right sneaker he was the man, because he was innovative” Udi Avshalom

The hip-hop culture and its various practices (MCing, or rap, DJing and breakdancing, or b-boying) were born in the 1970s New York. They emerged as identity reactions towards the hostile context against ethnic minorities.

With their flexible grippy soles, sneakers become essential for the b-boys and b-girls. Wearing Puma or Adidas, they invented new series of figures, gestures and postures, borrowed from different cultures - like capoeira or Kung fu movies - performed on mixed music. They also played basketball in those flexible shoes. For these young people who did not have access to mainstream culture, cheap sneakers became the first accessory of an identity style.

They were worn loosely, with laces of all kinds, regularly cleaned to give the impression that they were still new; everyone seized them and made them their own in order to stand out. This culture rapidly had a major impact in the USA and in Europe.

Documentary "Sneakers et Danse Hip-Hop, le Fondement" directed by Teddy et Deicy Sanches for the exhibition "Playground - The design of sneakers" presented at the madd-bordeaux from 20 June 2020 to 10 January 2021