Sport Brands International Ltd. sold Fila USA to Fila Korea, Ltd. for $400 million one month ago, finally succumbing to the Sisyphusian task of rebuilding the sports brand into a legitimate competitor of Nike, Reebok, and the other big boys.
Which isn’t to say that Fila Korea needs to start at square one. They have some momentum from last fall’s launch of the Settantatre collection — that’s “1973″ in Italian — which coincided with New York Fashion Week. Much like Puma’s French 77 line, Fila reissued their greatest hits from the era of Borg and Vilas, but with a limited edition run of 500 pieces per item.
SHOP: The goods are still available for sale at this website.
This change in ownership also comes at a time when one of Fila’s highest profile athletes, Kim Clijsters, has announced her immediate retirement from tennis. CEO Jon Epstein should think long and hard about who will fill this gaping hole in their on-court sponsorship roster. They need a player who can summon that retro je ne sais quoi. Perhaps Tommy Robredo? Elena Dementieva? Paul Henri-Mathieu? (Whom should Fila consider? Tell us.)
Which isn’t to say that Fila should write off Kimmy’s marketability. In fact, that isn’t part of the strategy: Lauren Mallon, Fila’s Global Marketing Manager, confirms with Tennis Served Fresh that they have no plans to end their relationship with Kim.
(via a new men’s fashion love, the all IC blog)