What is today acquired and run by Fila Korea from the Sports Brand International firm in the U.S., used to be a small family-run quality textile business started by the Fila brothers in 1911 in Biella (Northern Italy). Never did they know they were on the path to create history and a brand that would take the world by storm. In the 1970’s, sports rose to international prominence with tennis leading the charge as a form of individual expression. It represented the never tiring human spirit and celebrated its tenacity. The company took a note and prepared for its bold debut into the sportswear industry.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s Fila was Embraced and endorsed by a number of tennis professionals. However, the brand fell short in popularity in the United States with Nike and Reebok taking the lead. But then, NBA star Grant Hill endorsed Fila shoes in 1994 along with World Cup 94 winning Skier Alberto Tomba to start its successful run and tug of war versus Nike and Reebok throughout the 90’s. Fila was not only creative with its shoes but was also famous for its use of vibrant colors that challenged the monotony of the all-white tennis apparel. During the 80’s and 90’s, Fila continued to be a brand associated with tennis and the sportsmen/women that made it famous. At the same time, the company was also busy establishing its presence in other avenues such as Baseball, Basketball, football and motorsports. Fila is the only brand that can boast of being rocked by tennis different generations of tennis greats such as Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Jennifer Capriati, and Monica Seles.
Despite the spikes in success, Fila shoes and apparel plummeted after peaking out in 1990’s. Ever since, the company has tried to re-establish itself as an athletic brand and even forayed into the world of fashion sneakers. In 2006, Fila launched a golf collection named Fila Biella, including both shoes and apparel. In 2007, Fila joined hands with GLBH (Global Leading Brands House) which is a fashion organization that helps companies in developing high-end fashion products. With that move in order, Fila set up its headquarters in Milan, Italy which happens to be one of the fashion capitals of the world.
There have been many famous athletes that have rocked Fila, not to mention some collaborations the brand has had with some notable names in the world of sneakers and fashion. British Open 1982 winner Tom Watson did it wearing Fila clothing. Reinhold Messner’s 1986 hike on Mt. Everest without taking any additional oxygen happened in Fila’s mountain gear. 2005 US Open winner Kim Clijsters beat Mary Pierce while rocking Fila tennis shoes and apparel as she jumped into the stands to join her family and friends. Fila’s collaboration with fashion brand Pink Dolphin clothing resulted in a sweep out by sneakerheads when the cage silhouette was released in white and black colorways. Packer Shoes, one of the oldest sneaker stores on the East Coast did a collab with Fila on the T1-Mid with Tennis hall of fame footbeds and packer-embroidered detail back collar.
Fila continues to give us that retro feel even to this day with their uniquely simple designs and usage of trendy materials. They may no longer be the behemoth they used to be, but they’re a classic option that can never be written off a sneakerhead’s to-do list.