A brands archive is of great importance in order to help them see where they’ve come from, and how they intend to develop into the future. During the development of our latest size? Exclusive FILA collection, we took inspiration from original products found within the walls of the brands archive in order to maintain a sense of authenticity within the full range.
Late last year, we were fortunate enough to be granted access to the archive to take a closer look at their impressive back catalog, and sit down with curator Annalisa Zanni to find out more about it and how she’s spent the past 7 years pulling it together.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have had the chance to visit a few brands archives in our time, but this is definitely one of the most comprehensive so far. Annalisa and her small team have pulled in products from all across the globe in order to curate as much of a history behind the brand as possible. Having all of these original pieces at your disposal is invaluable for both FILA’s international design teams, and licensee’s around the globe like us who are given the opportunity to put their own spin on the brand and make it more relatable to the territory they reside in. These in turn are then added to the archive to further continue the documentation of the brand.
On site, the brand also has a timeline detailing the history of the brand and how it steadily progressed through a variety of different sports in order to mature both financially, and to hold more of an authoritative position across the industry. FILA owes much of it’s early successes to one of their original designers Pierluigi Rolando, a creative who’s vision still lives on within the brand today. Rolando introduced new ideas, innovative production techniques, and an eye for detail that help connect each disciplines apparel together.
There’s an incredible array of sports to sift through, from original White Line tennis Polo’s worn by Bjorn Borg in his heyday, to Magic Line mountaineering jackets built for intrepid explorer Reinhold Messner. These were two of the original disciplines which helped put the brand on the map, later moving into producing Gore-Tex lined Sailing Jackets, swimwear, and other athletic apparel.
Documenting the entire archive has been a very time consuming process. Zanni started collecting the contents back in 2010, where accumulation of as much physical product was the first port of call, and this didn’t just include the sportswear itself. Paper records, sales catalogs, production sketches and marketing material were also collated, meticulously scanned and recorded to start to build the bigger picture. Each piece of footwear and apparel is photographed and measured once collected, and is all held online within a digital archive, accessible to license holders around the world for inspiration when creating new collections. This digital database currently holds around 70,000 records, and this is only a quarter or everything that’s been collected so far!