Madchester music icons heading to Darwen to celebrate trainer legend's legacy

Shaun Ryder
Shaun Ryder -Credit:Archive

Shaun Ryder and Mani from the Stone Roses will appear at a celebratory exhibition marking 10 years of an iconic adidas range created by a Darwen designer.

Over the past 10 years Gary Aspden's range has released a host of products that give nods to the area from the Feniscowles jacket to the Intack SPZL trainers and the Sudell tracksuit. Back in 2019 Gary's team hosted a large-scale adidas exhibition in neighbouring Blackburn – drawing in die-hard Spezial fans from right around the world.

The exhibition, in Market Street, will showcase vintage design references, unseen samples, technical drawings, signed footwear and a large selection of rare adidas SPZL artefacts. A limited release of 100 pairs of the new Blackburn SPZL (DECADE pack) X Nightsafe edition shoe will be on sale to raise money for homeless charity Nightsafe.


The launch of the exhibition, on Friday May 17, will see top Madchester icons Shaun Ryder and Mani take to the stage while the following night will include a performance from Stereo MCs.

The new educational, retrospective adidas SPZL DECADE book will launch at the exhibition. This collector’s item showcases the full adidas SPZL footwear archive alongside detailed product descriptions, photography and quotes from SPZL's friends and family including - Liam Gallagher, Vicky McClure, Ashley Walters, Noel Gallagher, Stephen Graham and more.

The exhibition's launch has been lined up to tie in with Darwen Music Live which this year is being headlines by Tunde from the Lighthouse Family and Echobelly. The festival is run across 25 stages throughout the town centre.

Gary Aspden
Gary Aspden -Credit:Paul Husband

Spezial curator, Darwen design Gary Aspden 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 with 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.”