Fila : History of the brand and what to remember

April 18, 2020 7 min read

Fila : History of the brand and what to remember

Some people have had to accomplish great things. The exciting history of the giants of this world could not do without the great brand Fila that never ceases to seduce and surprise us.

Fashion is an unpredictable thing. The notoriety of the Fila brand and its recent revival is a perfect illustration of this.
The history of Fila, which we will present to you in this article, is one of the most exciting in sports fashion. A lot of upheavals, reconversions, mergers and acquisitions and partnerships that plunge us into a world of constant adaptation and innovation.

Fashion is becoming more and more fun with sports brands that no longer limit themselves to quality but make sure that you can put on their clothes wherever you go with your buddies, with a friend or with the family. With a history of over a hundred years, rich and innovative, the return of the Fila brand is not a miracle or a stroke of luck but the continuation of a hard-won reputation.
It has left its mark on the world of sports, especially tennis and sportswear.

Origins of the Fila brand

Origins of the Fila brand

In 1911, the Fila brothers had the brilliant and daring idea to create a brand of textile intended primarily for the inhabitants of the Alps. It happened in the town of Biella in Piedmont, Italy. Over the years, the Fila brothers went beyond the Alps, then beyond the borders, maintaining as their credo, quality and aesthetics. Their products have always tried to find a symbiosis between art and quality, between the useful and the pleasant.
For the Fila family, these two quests are not necessarily contradictory. Thus, in the fifties their factory became a manufacturing giant specialized in the design of underwear, before turning to the world of sports.
This reconversion was made with tennis, with the launch of the first collection of sportswear in 1973. The following year it began to market polo shirts that were advertised by celebrities such as Björn Borg, Guillermo Vilas, and later Boris Becker and Monica Seles. This was a major factor in bringing Fila to the forefront. Since then, Fila has been known worldwide.

Björn Borg and Fila, an exciting story worthy of a romance

Björn Borg and Fila

The story between Bjorn Borg and the Fila brothers began in the 1970s with the meeting orchestrated by the equipment manufacturer Enrico Franchey, who had the excellent flair to find the tennis giant Borg very early on.
Today, Borg is considered the best tennis player in the history of the sport with no less than eleven titles.
This affinity was sealed, and in 1975 it became official, revolutionizing both the image of tennis and that of the brand. Thus began a rewarding partnership for both parties.
This collaboration with the tennis icon of the seventies is what will truly change the life of the Fila brothers. Designed by the stylist Rolando, a range of products with the BJ label was launched in parallel with the Borg's rise to prominence, making the "Borg BJ" range a must-have in the entire sports world.

Björn Borg wearing Fila

Borg became an independent brand, but as an annex to the Fila brand, the Swedish international opened the doors to Asia and America. It became a truly international brand, and the Swedish standard-bearer's many trophies brought it to the forefront.
In 1983, the brand was sold to American investors who expanded its scope to include music and sportswear. Hip-hop, which was in vogue during this period, carried the torch for the brand, which had already gained international recognition.

Evolution in streetculture

fila in the streetculture

There has always been a conflict between the rich and the poor, between the proletarians and the bourgeois, between the capital and the suburbs, between classical music and popular music like hip hop.

The challenge that the Fila brand took up was to reconcile popular music with the high-end. Fila quickly became a brand worn by hip hop music stars as well as the bourgeois and other followers of formal wear thanks to the notoriety it had acquired with Bjorn. As a result, its development went far beyond the realm of tennis and became a favorite in street culture. Fila managed to reconcile sports and sportswear.
Social identity struggles were made by wearing the Fila brand without any problem. It became part of the habits of suburbanites as well as those of people living in residential areas. This was only possible thanks to its entry into pop culture. It was artists like George Micheal and Tupac that allowed it to tap into that niche of consumers that any brand would want to acquire. This may explain, in part, why a hundred years later, this brand is still finding ways to earn a top spot.

Other celebrities such as NBA player Grant Hill stood as a standard bearer in the 1990s. In the same year Fila bought the French brand Dorotennis before selling it a few years later due to some financial problems.

The difficult entry into the 21st century

The 2000s were a tumultuous time for the brand, which had nothing left to prove in the sports and streetculture world. However, its fall will not be final. In 2007, the South Korean firm Fila-Coréa became the owner of the brand, which laid the foundations for a dazzling renaissance. The head office was moved to Seoul and the CEO position was taken over by Yoon-Soo Yoon.

Four years later, the Chinese company ANTA bought a license to reproduce the brand in China and worldwide. This was an important decision that gave a new lease of life to the brand that had begun to be forgotten. Nowadays, Fila is once again a brand that is popular with young people, whether they are sportsmen or not, and old people are more than ever nostalgic for the good old days.

Fila shoes, jogging suits, jackets, t-shirts and jackets are all stylish and have become a must-have for any young person who wants to play sports and be relaxed at the same time, or simply have a good time. These are outfits that will keep you from looking like an uptight aristocrat who walks like an automaton.

What you must remember

The strength of the Fila brothers lies in their team spirit

Where many other sports brands have not managed to survive the blow received during the 2000s, Fila has resisted thanks to its team spirit. It is the union that makes the strength. There were even brands that were created forty years later like Adidas and Puma, even those created by brothers but did not know how to keep the group together. They did not do so well.

On the Fila logo

It was only in 1973 that Fila commissioned its art director to design its logo.  This was justified by the need for an image identity. This order resulted in F-Box designed by the eminent Rolando Pierluigi. The choice of colors was not made at random. Where red refers to vitality, aggressiveness and rigor, blue moderates with fidelity and reliability. Previously, it was Caroline Davidson who made the Swoosh in 1971.

Bjorn Borg is the brand's first and greatest ambassador

F-Box is on the tennis courts with the great Borg, who, during the 1975 Roland Garros, which he won, wore a polo shirt with the Fila logo designed only two years earlier. This marked the entry of this brand into sportswear forever and ever.

Queens rappers enter the dance in 1986

Rappers from Queens wearing fila

Fila is hanging out with hip hop star LL Cool J. He's not taking it easy. He wears the brand's tracksuits with a hat on his head, a giant chain around his neck and accessories worthy of a 1980s rapper.  This launched the brand into the urban culture and suburbs around the world. The brand is gaining popularity and diversity.

The brand's entry into basketball with Grant Hill

When Fila decided to enter the basketball world and expand its definition, it needed a big name. They needed to land a basketball giant and that's why "all eyez on the Fila Grant Hill" was the right choice. Within five years of the partnership, Fila became the second largest basketball shoe brand after Nike. Some observers say that the influence of Tupac who had to wear the brand was very important. In any case, it was a real success.

The fall of Fila in the early twenty-first century

The fall of Fila in the early twenty-first century

Fila experienced its dark years in the early 2000s. The company passed from hand to hand without being able to recover, let alone regain its former notoriety. Everything became confused. The company could no longer define its identity and withdrew from the market more and more. It was only remembered by nostalgic people and in photo albums. It was time to get back on track.

Yoon-Soo Yoon, the messiah to save the brand

It was in 2007 that the South Korean investor bet on Fila, which was still in a coma. His bet was fruitful because today it weighs nearly a billion dollars. He bet on the trend and fashion by diversifying Fila products and democratizing the brand in a way. He offers retro models from the 1990s which coincided with the return of this relaxed style that is currently causing a stir.
In 2011, reproduction rights came to a Chinese company that was responsible for spreading the brand in the huge market of China and around the world. This has contributed greatly to the boom experienced by the brand today. Whether it was a stroke of luck or just the ingenuity of the new buyer, the fact is that the Fila brand is now at the forefront.

The first Fila Disruptor comes from the USA

 Fila Disruptor

The first Fila Disruptor came from New York designers in 1996 who were on a mission to produce a model that would make a splash in the sports world in general and basketball in particular. The expected success was achieved. Two years later, we found ourselves with a second iteration.
The Fila disruptor 2 now, two decades later, wins the title of best sneaker of the year. Since 2017, more than ten million copies of this product have been sold which shows the renewed success this retro model is currently enjoying.

the fila brand

Whether for girls or boys, Fila products have become very trendy. The "ugly sneaker" for example is very popular with girls who wear it with jeans or jogging suits, both classy and relaxed.

Fashion is currently extremely favorable to teens and young adults who no longer need to break their heads to find what to wear. If you want to feel good about yourself with clothes that are not bulky but still fun and correct, then products from the brand fila are probably your best option. This is no longer a time for rigid fashion but rather for flexibility. Brands like Fila are breaking down the barrier between fashion and sport. Now you can be sporty and stylish, you can be chic no matter where you are or how much money you have.

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