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Originally founded in 1911 as a textile store, FILA released the 'White Line' sportswear collection in 1973. A homage to the all-white tennis aesthetic, the line reinterpreted classic polo silhouettes, infusing them with signature FILA colours of navy and red.
Decades later, the brand's archival sneaker and tracksuit styles have become streetwear staples. Rising to prominence in the 90s, FILA has seen a resurgence of late, as a new generation embraces its dynamic collaborations and updates of classic styles.
We spoke to FILA Europe's Design director Joel Sam Horwitz about the brand's SS23 collection, an upcoming collab, what's next for the brand, and more.
What is the concept behind the SS23 collection?
'Year of the court' is about play, explore and comfort. After holding back for such a long time, it’s time to play: doing sports, enjoying life and exploring the world, without losing the comfort and cosiness of home. The collections offer the whole range from sports and training to lifestyle and streetwear.
Alongside that, we have ‘FILA Sport Performance’, which takes us back on track with a series of high-performance running shoes, providing the right gear for the best running experience for both beginners and the serious alike.
And not to forget to mention, we are proud of the past, celebrating 50 years with the famous F-box logo, created out of defined stripes in the colours red and blue, which brings energy and stands for the success of court sports.
Please talk us through the main influences behind this collection – were there any that were non-fashion related?
FILA has a vast history in running, a journey that started in the early 90's with German Silva winning the NYC Marathon back-to-back in '94/'95. From Moses Tanui’s performances at the end of the decade leading towards the 2000’s, to Jane Jelegat Seurey’s top performance at Sao Paolo Marathon in 2016. This inspiration has been the main influence for the new sport collection.
For the lifestyle collections, we present a modern version of the brand’s DNA with preppy styles in clean and sharp silhouettes. The design team took inspiration from the tennis court and the famous pinstripes, which are reinvented in an irregular version and a bold blocked stripe.
Can you discuss the design process behind the collection?
Located in Europe, the product and design team works in a modern way, ensuring a close exchange of inspiration and design ideas. Based on the inspiration of FILA’s past, from the archive of the Fondazione FILA in Biella, the team started to create the first ideas for the collection.
Reinventing elements from the past into the future, such as using the 'floating F' logo with the bars for a dynamic performance collection, or analysing the DNA of the first-ever FILA shoe: The ‘Original Tennis FX-2’.
What made you choose to bring back those particular two archive sneaker styles in the collection?
‘Original Tennis FX-2’ with its distinctive flag in the original FILA colours of blue and red, was the first-ever FILA shoe designed by P. L. Rolando 40 years ago.
Launching in the traditional white/red/blue colourway, ‘Grant Hill 3’ sums up the first part of celebrating the 'Year of the court', highlighting another historical FILA court sport.
What are the key pieces that you are most excited about from this collection and why?
Our vision is to create the best experience for all athletes, providing the right gear for the beginner and the serious alike. Our new ‘Astatine’ is the fastest and lightest shoe within the collection, with a wave foam and carbon plate for the perfect rebound. The experience is rounded up with redesigned classic-inspired flag lines. Followed by two other new mid to entry running shoes: The ‘Aragon’ and ‘Beryllium’, and the running apparel collection.
What key element would you like people to take from this collection?
That FILA wants to ‘change the game’ using the running assets of the past interpreted into the future!
How is the apparel collection ‘a modern version of your DNA’?
It is seen through updated functional fabrics, historical-inspired details and transforming the famous WING from the shoes into the apparel collection. You will find inspired cutlines and hidden details showing the shoe wing and bars of the FILA logo.
Can you talk about how this relationship started with VR46?
The actual contact between the brands started through a connection between our team here in Italy and the management at the VR46 Rider’s Academy. The Italian emotion for the sport next to FILA’s strong heritage in racing made it feel right to build on that legacy, but on a more grassroots level. The collaboration with VR46 Rider’s Academy is telling the stories of its young and upcoming riders.
What's next for the brand?
Next up are some fantastic global collaborations that are about to launch with Roksanda and Slam Jam, alongside a project with the 2pac estate. Besides streetwear and fashion collaborations, our main focus is to launch and build on our sports heritage. Next to tennis, our main focus is on running shoes and apparel.
What are you looking forward to at PITTI?
I always love checking out the different brands at PITTI and of course meeting and exchanging ideas with inspiring people. Enjoying the good vibes and the reaction of the audience regarding the new collections.