THE designer and curator of the adidas Spezial collection for adidas Originals came to Blackburn College University Centre to hold an inspirational talk. 

Gary Aspden, a former Blackburn College student, gave a visiting lecture to around 200 students ahead of The British Textile Biennial headline exhibition: ‘CINQUANTA 50 years of sportswear innovation C.P. Company’. 

The Darwen-born brand expert is known for his in-depth knowledge of adidas and his vast vintage adidas archive. His work is based in London, but he spends much of his time in Lancashire which he cites as his biggest source of inspiration. 

During his motivational talk he discussed careers in the fields of marketing, design, technology and the significance of brand development in the adidas heritage line. 

Gary said: “It’s really important to come back to Blackburn University Centre especially as it’s where I completed my studies. I hope my talk will inspire the students here to realise that Blackburn is as good as anywhere to achieve their goals. With hard work and talent, a little bit of luck, they can achieve and get a career in the creative industry.”

Katie Grime, 34, from Helmshore, who is studying a foundation degree in contemporary fashion, said: “Gary’s talk really resonated with me as he had similar experiences to myself growing up. I found it so inspiring to see what he’s achieved; it has really motivated me and made me believe that anything is possible if you work for your dreams.” 

Blackburn College students have previously worked on the adidas Spezial archive, the installation and invigilation of exhibitions and have assisted internationally recognised artists in the development and presentation of their work.  

Caroline Bracewell, assistant principal of the University Centre, said: “It was an honour to have Gary Aspden come back to speak to our students. 

“During the past 18 months students have lacked the opportunity to gain exposure to employers, but we pride ourselves in our fantastic links with a host of top employers."