Since last year, Fila Europe’s creative director has been Michael Staib. He has held previous design positions at Joop, Adidas and Esprit. Fila Europe, a sportswear brand that was founded in Italy 110 years ago, will celebrate this year its anniversary. It’s high time to discover what the future holds for Fila Europe and what Staib has in the store for it.
The designer discusses the new direction of Fila Europe and the trends in sportswear. He also discusses the importance of collaborations.
You have been the creative director of Fila Europe for just over a calendar year. What is your vision for the brand’s future? What have you done to push for?
Fila, like many brands, had a strong and fast run with its Trend Archive Bold, Colourblock, and large logos. Fila has experienced rapid growth and the elements mentioned above still define the DNA.
I knew immediately that we needed to be a brand if we wanted to continue to be a market leader in the future. This meant finding myself, concentration, being different, not trying to please everyone, and building an emotional strong brand image that is convincing to the outside world. Fila roots were used and transformed to be fit for the future. So we remain true to the brand!
What did this do to the collection?
The new collection is simplified and now consists of three areas: Archive, Street, and Sport. Each area is driven by a strong theme. Each has its own colour palette that can be used across the board. It is important to be able combine the styles from all three areas. This creates a wide range of looks.
What does this mean for these three areas?
We are proud to be a leader in the sport segment. Our collection is designed with lifestyle in mind and features technology that is 100 percent functional. Sportwear for your daily life.
Streetwear is more formal. This segment includes both formal wear and sportswear. Here, technical influences from sports and outdoor environments are important in terms of materials and workmanship.
The Archive segment is used to tell stories about exciting events that have occurred over time in our Fila archive. This is where you will find our heritage. The diversity of the Fila archive means that it’s never boring to play with patterns and logos.
Fila celebrates 110 years this year. That’s a lot of archive. Do you spend much time looking at old designs? Are you inspired by them?
Fila is sport! There are few brands in the world that can be at home in so many different sports. Fila archives are a constant source for inspiration. In our design meetings, we always find stories and moods from Fila archives. We worked closely with Biella’s museum to develop appropriate graphics and prints for the summer collection. I wish I could have spent more time in the archives. My top priority is to visit the Biella museum.
What are the latest trends in streetwear and sportswear?
With more attitude, the looks are becoming sharper. A key trend right now is the fusion of formalwear with utility, in combination with technical sportwear. We can see this trend clearly in homewear, as it raises awareness about health, family and friends, as well as diversity. The cuts, colours and materials reflect this. We don’t follow the latest trends as a brand. Instead, we focus on our core message for Fila. Fila must be able to adapt to a trend.
What are the trends in the US and China?
There are many differences. Each market has its own needs and orientation. Fila USA is a strong player in the outdoor market. Fila China is in the fashion industry.
Fila collaborated with Y/Project and MSGM for SS22. In what capacity were you involved?
Although I’m not involved in every Global Fila collaboration, I do receive information about them. Our Fila collaboration launches are planned accordingly. Our team worked closely with Wood Wood to develop the product.
Which collaborations are next?
We have several more exciting collaborations that we have been working on over the past few months. We will be releasing two collections next year for Fila Kids with Warner Brothers. For Fila Apparel, Accessories, and Footwear, we will be collaborating with Valentino Rosso (Riders Academy), VR46. Then, shortly after, a sports/street capsule was created with Slam Jam, also in Fila Apparel Accessories and Footwear. Collaborations are always inspiring and refreshing, apart from the daily buzz.
There are many activation models, such as channels for cultural leaders. We also know that collaborations don’t generate the same hype as they did in years past. It will be fascinating to see what happens next. Perhaps Fila will soon be able to “hack” or use “swap”?
You will launch a campaign to position Fila in the athleisure and sports markets next year. How does this positioning look?
Our campaign isn’t about being “stronger, better and faster”. Fila’s motto says “Play over Pressure” and “Fun Over Rules”. Gen Z is extremely aware of the importance of having fun and enjoying sports as a way to express our passions. This is a very positive viewpoint!
What is the future for Fila in Europe’s?
We are able to move things within our organization quickly, which is very good. Our company is doing well and investing in the future.
We have invested in the product as well as e-commerce. The strong online players are closely connected to our Dusseldorf team. We are currently working to emotionalize our digital area.