Limited edition Adidas shoes are set to be released at the Spezial exhibition, which is to take place in Darwen later this year.

The free exhibition, "DECADE – 10 years of Adidas Spezial", will take place over 10 days from May 17, in Market Street.

The exhibition will be a celebration of Adidas Spezial’s 10th anniversary.

Spezial curator Gary Aspden, who is from Darwen, said the exhibition is his way of giving something back to the community he grew up in.

Lancashire Telegraph: Many of Gary Aspden's products hark back to his roots Many of Gary Aspden's products hark back to his roots (Image: Blackburn with Darwen Council)

He 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 and 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.”

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

There will also be musical performances, more details of which will be revealed at a later date. 

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

On May 22, there will be a screening of past Adidas Spezial films followed by a question and answer session with the curator of the range Gary and Spezial film director Nick Griffiths, founder of London-based creative practice &SON, at the Darwen Library Theatre.  

On Friday, May 24, a special release of the Blackburn Spezial DECADE pack X Nightsafe edition shoe will launch exclusively at the exhibition, raising funds for Nightsafe, a charity that works with young people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness in the borough.

Lancashire Telegraph: Adidas Spezial curator Gary AspdenAdidas Spezial curator Gary Aspden (Image: Paul Husband)

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 four updated bring-backs from the Adidas Spezial archive.

Further information about this is set to be announced soon.

The new educational, retrospective Adidas Spezial DECADE book will launch at the exhibition.

This collector’s item showcases the full Adidas Spezial footwear archive alongside detailed product descriptions, photography, and quotes from "friends and family" of the brand including Liam Gallagher, Vicky McClure, Ashley Walters, Noel Gallagher, Stephen Graham, and more. 

There will also be exclusive celebratory Adidas Spezial merchandise including a 10th anniversary charity t-shirt and pin badge.

Darwen Live, set to take place on May 25 and 26, will coincide with the closing weekend of the exhibition.       

A lifelong three-stripe fan, Gary previously headed up the label’s Entertainment Team globally and created the concept for the Adidas Spezial range in 2014.

It is a modern, premium, archive-inspired range of footwear, apparel and accessories that has often taken inspiration from its Lancashire roots.

Over the past 10 years, the Spezial range has released a host of products that give nods to the area, from the Feniscowles jacket to the Intack Spezial trainers and the Sudell tracksuit.

Back in 2019, his team hosted a large-scale Adidas exhibition in Blackburn, drawing in diehard Spezial fans from around the world.

As well, his team launched the LG2 SPZL shoe with Liam Gallagher at an intimate charity gig with the star at King George’s Hall in Blackburn.

In 2021, Gary also convinced Italian sportswear brand C.P. Company to bring its 50th anniversary to a repurposed underground car park in Darwen – attracting a number of famous faces to the town including magician Dynamo, and musicians Goldie and Shaun Ryder.

Denise Park, chief executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “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.

Lancashire Telegraph: Artwork for Darwen event DECADE – 10 years of Adidas SpezialArtwork for Darwen event DECADE – 10 years of Adidas Spezial (Image: Blackburn with Darwen Council)

“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.”

Admission to the exhibition is free, but donations to Nightsafe are encouraged. Sign up to for further announcements.