In fashion, there’s always that one person or brand that has (or has had) an enormous influence on the way we dress nowadays. In Fashion Legends, we will talk about the people and brands that have shaped the world of fashion and streetwear.
This fashion legend centers around how Italian sportswear brand, FILA went from being a small-town shop to becoming one of the leading global designers of high-end sports and streetwear, starting with a tale of two brothers. The FILA brothers opened their first store in 1911 in Biella, a small town in the foothills of Northen Italy. They specialized in creating quality textiles for the local townspeople and produced fabrics that combined luxury, art, and utility. A vision that still lives in the brand today.
In 1923 the brothers decided to expand their textile business to a high-quality knitwear manufacturing company. Over time, the business grew passed the borders of Biella and became a well-known quality knitwear producer for Italy. In 1942, the company merged with the Fratelli Fila company, and by 1972 the company had sales of over one billion lire and a total workforce of more than 250 people. Wishing to further expand the company, Giansevero Fila hired Enrico Frachey as the managing director of the firm in 1968. Frachey shared Fila’s vision and it was his creativity and managerial resourcefulness that ultimately transformed Fila into a global sportswear brand.
The sports apparel industry was booming in the seventies, especially for brands who focused on tennis and basketball apparel and FILA didn’t stay behind. Frachey saw this as a great opportunity and hired the innovative designer, Pier Luigi Rolando, the artist behind FILA’s most iconic designs. Rolando’s first collection for FILA debuted in 1972 and instantly established the brand into the industry. Rolando’s designs, utilizing wool and cashmere in novel ways, created a line that quickly became renowned for its seamless combination of grace and vigor.
The following year, FILA introduced the now legendary “White Line” Collection. The name was a jab towards the classic monochrome white look that dominated tennis apparel at the time. The Collection was both aesthetically astonishing in its novel design and unconventional use of vibrant colors, yet simply beautiful in its practicality and function, immediately taking the world by storm. “Classic doesn’t have to mean conservative, and timeless designs can still be contemporary.” -Pier Luigi Rolando.
Like many sports brands, FILA started achieving mainstream success during the nineties. Sportswear was all the range in the urban community, that emulated the style of the leading sports icons of the day. FILA became one of the most influential style brands, both on and off the court. Today, FILA has made a massive comeback and is once again one of the leading streetwear brands in the world, bringing back some of their most iconic designs with a modern touch.