The History Of Fila

Foundation & Incorporation

Fila was founded over 100 years ago in 1911 by two brothers who opened a textile shop, originally selling sewing materials to the local people of Biella at the foot of the Italian Alps. After a decade of notable growth and some gained experience, the brothers decide to expand their textile business into a knitwear manufacturing business, producing fine sweatshirts, scarves and jumpers.

Word of their innovative designs and reliable quality spread over Italy and in 1942, they merged with the Fila Fratelli company where they went on to enjoy another 25 years of success in the knitwear industry. In an attempt to further expand the company, Giansevero Fila hired Enrico Frachey as the managing director of Fila in 1968. Frachey understood the goals of Fila and respected the brand, he would go on to become the man who launched Fila into the world of global athletics.

Going Worldwide

Before launching a sportswear range, Frachey hired artistic designer ‘Pier Luigi Rolando’ and engineering director ‘Alessandro Galliano’ to ensure the clothing would complement the athletes both athletically and aesthetically. Their first hit sportswear range was called the “White Line” Collection, which came out in 1973, the name was a dig at how scared tennis designers were to deviate from all white kits. Their fresh products paid homage to the all-white traditions of tennis but brought originality with elegant uses of trademark Fila colours: navy and red layered upon an off-white tennis polo, proving that classic does not have to mean conservative.

After their release of the ever popular ‘White Line’, Fila were able to approach and collaborate with enigmatic athletes such as Bjorn Borg, a player who was on top of the tennis world from 1975-1980 when he won 5 Wimbledon titles back to back, wearing the iconic designs of Rolando and Galliano. However it wasn’t just his talent that made him a great endorsement for Fila, Borg was an exciting and iconic character, with a unique personality, look and play style. He would rock up to the court in a kaleidoscopic Fila jacket over the ‘White Line’ polo shirt with his floating locks secured in a Fila headband.

Streetwear

After years of success in the tennis industry, Fila began making shoes for sports ranging from basketball to mountaineering, which ended up sprouting their streetwear success in the 90s with everyone from Tupac to Timmy from next door rocking an oversized Fila sweat.

From here, Fila has always been seen as an alternative to Nike and Adidas, they carry unique styling that is reminiscent of the early 90s. The brand has seen a recent revival in popularity amongst the vintage scene alongside other 90s brands such as Kappa, Diadora and Champion which were once considered unfavourable but are now selling with haste at second-hand clothing stores.

Best known for their polo shirts, sweatshirts and shoes, Fila's designs are always bold and they most definitely do not shy away from bright colours or daring silhouettes. It is this creative bravery that has brought them back to the mainstream, granting the Italian firm a stream of collaborations with the likes of Odd Future, Urban Outfitters, Fendy and even Pepsi. Click here to shop Fila.

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