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The brand that started as an underwear company is now one of the biggest footwear brands in the modern world. It was shaped into something it was never meant to be. FILA was always set to become a household name in clothing and accessories. But soon, the company ventured into the shoe category. FILA was making millions until 2007 when it hit rock bottom, then it was acquired by one of the former employees, Yoon Yoon-Soo. FILA was founded more than a hundred years ago and was a successful brand for men, women and kids' underwear. However, in the 70s, they took the first step into the world of clothing, footwear and accessories.

A Brief History of FILA: From its Origins to Global Success

The brand wanted to follow in the footsteps of Nike and adidas, by making high-quality shoes and sponsoring athletes to promote them. Everything was going great until 1997. The company saw a decline in sales and was doomed to fail.

Eventually, in 2007, the sales fell by 91%, and the stock was at an all-time low. The former employee Yoon Yoon-Soo bought the company for a mere $400 million. At that time, its competitor adidas and Nike, made $12.5 billion and $16.3 in sales, respectively.

Financial advisors considered this one of the biggest mistakes one could make, but the former employee was determined. Soon, we saw an uprise in the brand's evaluation, and it was able to make profits once again.

A Drastic Change in Brand Identity

FILA knew they couldn't compete with fashion brands. Thus, they marketed themselves as a household sportswear brand. Bjorn Borg was a famous tennis player who helped the brand the most. In 1976, he won his first of five consecutive Wimbledon tournaments, all while wearing FILA on his chest. The tennis player helped the Italian company achieve a large number of sales.

Brands are not sold for what they make but rather for what they represent. And this was an issue for FILA. They were known for dads' trainers and fanny packs. However, this all changed with their new marketing techniques.

The brand became more focused on the youth and their needs. Keeping this in mind, FILA started paying more attention to its line of accessories. Between 2013 and 2019, the accessories showed the most growth, while the number is expected to keep growing.

From Rock Bottom To The Very Top

One could say luck was also on the side of FILA throughout their history. When the brand suffered in 2007, global micro trends changed and the need for the athleisure sector increased. All in favour of the well-known brand, as the category is set to reach $257 billion in sales by 2026.

When the comfort of athletic shoes meets the design aesthetics of the leisure category, they form athleisure. FILA was always known for their quality and durability. And this helped them in conquering the category.

However, their good luck didn't stop there. Soon, the world saw a rise in the vintage trend. The need for baggy clothes and chunky shoes was again in fashion, and FILA was the ultimate choice. The new trend worked as a blessing in disguise for them.

Later on, the shoes saw an association with hip-hop culture. Famous artists such as Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Run DMC etc., started endorsing the brand. This trend helped the transformation of FILA as a brand of oldies to the choice of the hip youth. 

The FILA Disruptor, once termed a chunky shoe, has become the leading sales generator for the brand. Some of the retailers have stated that 30% of the sales for the brand come from the Disruptor alone. Things soon started to work in favour of FILA, and it saw its rise.

People were again starting to engage with the brand because of its rich history. FILA started as an underwear company and quickly repositioned itself as a lifestyle brand. Between 2016 and 2018, it showed an increase in sales by 205%. The company has also opened doors for other Italian brands like Diadora and Kappa. The demand for athleisure is increasing, and FILA is at the very top. 
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