Thursday night in Manchester, England, Fila’s collaboration with cult luxury designer Haider Ackermann debuted at the Mayfield Depot. While an unlikely pairing, this collaboration has shed light on the power of repositioning through unpredictable luxury collabs. The runway event showcases Ackermann’s notoriously clean fit merging with the sportswear giant in a teaser that still leaves room for imagination. The line is set to release in the Spring of 2023.
Ackermann’s tests the waters of the sportswear market aesthetically precisely by staying true to core brand elements like avant-garde, technical and sophisticated approaches while still honoring the essence of Fila. This collection features a diverse mix of neons, pastels, stripe-patterned leggings, and windbreakers. The collection is a step away from the expected for each brand, where a new kind of genre is derived from experimental tailoring and balancing ritual components.
This joining of forces transcends past creative collaboration and adds strategy to business. In 2018, Fila’s collaboration with Fendi laid the groundwork for luxury relationships. Speaking on preserving the identity of both brands through collaborative processes, Fila Holdings CEO Kevin Yoon said, “When this translates into higher brand positioning and can also be conveyed into commercially successful stories, it means we have a perfect match. This is what happened with Fendi or Y/Project, and we will now see it with the Haider Ackermann capsule.” The hope for Fila is to use brand positioning as a source of competitive advantage, audience expansion, and customer loyalty in order to establish a consistent presence in sportswear and luxury markets.
Fila’s success from 2017-2019 was largely due to the resurgence of popularity for their Disruptor 2 shoe, a chunky sneaker style reissued from the brand’s archive. The trend turnover amongst younger consumers happens in the blink of an eye, which inspired Fila to revamp their brand. In order to reposition itself globally, Fila aims to partake in more luxury collaborations that will place them in a higher position amongst competitors. This signals an expansion or shift from current retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods in the US and JD Sports in the UK to locations that emphasize brand equity and longevity.
Moving forward, Fila plans to secure more collaborations with both established and niche brands that help leverage their strength. Post pandemic, Fila Holdings Group revenues reached $2.8 billion in 2021, up 21.3 per cent on the previous year and up 10 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in 2019. With a substantial archive Fila’s expectation is to highlight the magic of nostalgia.