Over the past two years Fila has been rocking the fashion world with multiple collaborations, says Laurence Slotsky of the local distributor, 1721 Distributors. “Top global high-end luxury fashion brands like Fendi – amongst others – have associated and partnered themselves with Fila, which has real brand identity, Italian heritage and genuine history in the sports and fashion industry.”

This year, Fila will be the only sports brand invited to the Milan Fashion Week runway show. The Fila Spring Summer 2019 runway show will take place on September 23 and, in addition, Fila will host an exhibition at La Triennale Museum in Milan, from September 18-23, to showcase the brand.

“Around the globe, Fila has once again made a strong mark amongst the urban youth and fashion-conscious consumers who want to look individual, unique and cool and understand what true brand identity is,” says Slotsky. “These consumers feel extremely proud to wear and show the Fila brand.”

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Fila is also finding ways to capitalize on the current outdoor wear as fashion trend, adopting outdoor styles with a fashion-forward twist. From the end of July, Fila opened nine pop-up stores worldwide to launch the brand’s limited-edition Fila Explore collection. “It consists of roughly 140 pieces inspired by the elements.”

The brand had a three-week pop-up in New York’s Soho neighbourhood, as well as stores in Los Angeles, London, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, India and Berlin.

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“Fila’s shift into outdoor gear comes as more fashion brands are creeping into territory held by brands like The North Face and Columbia,” says the brand’s VP of heritage and trend, Louis W. Colon III. “We were able to see that this outdoor lifestyle trend is coming — it’s coming in the fall. We wanted to tell how our story fits into that.”

Adventure and exploration have been part of the brand’s history dating back to 1978, when Fila worked with legendary climber Reinhold Messner to create custom high-tech Fila mountain gear. “The Fila Explore collection is broken into four sub-collections, inspired by different aspects of nature: canyon, woods, mountains and elements.”

Among the styles are tank tops, wind jackets, backpacks and sandals.

“This outdoor movement has been growing from season to season, getting larger and larger with the awareness of earth and the environment,” says RoDerick Gilbert, design director at Fila. “People wanting to be out and immersed in nature was a natural pitch for us. Using a topographical map, we figured out a way to create that into a graphic element that is threaded through the collection.”

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Fila also opened four pop-ups for its last limited-edition Mindblower collection. The brand wanted to go bigger, moving into nine locations and creating immersive, Instagram-able experiences for fans, says Colon. “At each pop-up, the brand had three rooms mirroring three of the four sub-collections: canyon, mountains and woods.”

The mountain room, for example, is a soundproof room filled with mirrors. When customers enter, they will see pictures of mountain peaks, designed to make them feel like they’re on top of a mountain. “We want to create those Instagram-able experiences for the customer, because it’s a fun way for them to have a takeaway that has a longer life than just buying the item.”

There has been huge editorial coverage for this Fila outdoor explore category in diverse online publications like the German streetwear blog Highsnobiety, men’s fashion site Hypebeast, fashion site Hypebae and pop culture site Complex.