adidas Originals brought its 50th-anniversary celebrations for the Superstar to London last week, teaming up with ASOS for a special commemorative event in Shoreditch, East London.

For 50 years the Superstar has been at the forefront of culture and creativity, starting out as a humble basketball sneaker before being adopted by everyone from rappers, to writers, to skaters and style icons. For the celebration, adidas Originals and ASOS pushed that frontier even further, working closely with progressive East London creative agency Boy Zero to use the iconic shell-toed sneaker as a launchpad for discussions about style, expression, gender fluidity and how young people are breaking the boundaries of identity and influence.

Proceedings kicked off with a short panel discussion between Boy Zero co-founder Joel Palmer, musician and collaborator with Collusion clothing nxdia, ASOS’ own Lotte Williams and Bethany Williams of adidas. The group discussed changing perceptions, our growing embrace of gender fluidity in culture, how fashion has contributed to that movement, and the challenges still to come as the movement enters the mainstream.

This then led into an eclectic exposition of voguers, krumpers, dancers and performance artists curated by the Boy Zero team. Cutting through the crowd in the narrow tunnel space of the venue, each performance saw the Boy Zero collaborators decked out in Superstars and 3-Stripes gear as they recontextualized the shoe’s enduring cultural status in a strictly counter-culture context.

Following a decade in which conversations about LGBTQ and non-heteronormative ways of living and moving through the world have become increasingly prevalent in how we understand the world around us, the event signalled an exciting moment at this new decade’s beginning.

Ballroom and voguing have existed almost as long as the Superstar itself, the latter evolving out of the former during the 1980s and serving as a safe haven for the city’s gay, lesbian and transgender communities during the latter half of the twentieth century. These creative practices that the LGBTQ communities have carved out around the world as spaces of protest, self-expression, and survival have had to wait an awfully long time for those in the mainstream to grasp their true significance.

And in London’s creative scene, the Boy Zero team and their network of partners, collaborators, and kindred spirits have been at the forefront of claiming space in London’s artistic corners, shaking up stale ideas and reinvigorating our collective imaginations by reminding us that new ways of thinking, seeing, and being, have always been right in front of us. It’s not always about creating something new. Sometimes it’s a simple case of embracing the beauty that’s been in your midst the whole time. Last night’s celebrations were a poignant moment that expanded our collective understanding of culture, creativity, expression, and belonging. Here’s hoping the new decade continues in that same spirit.

Check out the photos of the event above and head to asos.com to shop the Superstar 50th-anniversary collection.

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