New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANSlife) With a long and colorful history from its humble beginnings in Italy, today FILA enjoys great brand recognition in the sportswear segment.
FILA entered the sportswear market in the 70s and has been a trendsetter in the lifestyle industry, championing its heritage Italian design DNA, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of modern performance wear. Over the years, the brand has also been associated with many iconic moments in sporting history – from Bjorn Borg to Reinhold Messner and many more.
IANSlife caught up with Abdon Lepcha, Design Head of FILA India to find out what the brand has in store for 2020.
Do you think the athleisure trend has helped the resurgence of sportswear brands?
Lepcha: Athleisure is not just a trend but also a revolution in the fashion industry. It has changed the shape of how fashion had been imagined and it no longer depends on the runways of the top fashion luxury brands but is followed from the streets and sports.
Terrace wear for example is the love for football and its fashion. It has now become a prominent part of athleisure and street culture. It started from the football stadium stands of UK and now it can be seen on the streets and stores. It is a change in attitude that has led to sportswear being the primary skin in the present day.
The change in focus from the customary fashion to athleisure has led to a huge resurgence of sportswear brands, and even other traditional brands have forayed and invested into the sportswear race. Celebrities who have launched their own sportswear lines has fuelled this trend and the market to move into this direction and category.
Athleisure is now a synonym to sportswear or vice versa. The change in attitude towards health and fitness across all age groups has made India become a health awareness country with consumers taking up fitness and sports related activities.
Fashion now is not just about looking pretty and owning a luxury piece. It’s a lifestyle of ease and comfort. The escape from an unimaginative boring wardrobe to a combination of chic yet sporty, fashionable and performance clothing has led to an increase in consumer expenditure, which has in turn pushed the sportswear segment even more.
Millennials account for over 75 percent of the working population. Their lifestyles, purchase behaviours, and expectations of brands are vastly different than that of the Gen X and Boomer generations. Brands that have grown up with these traditional consumers have remodelled themselves to remain relevant with this burgeoning customer-base.
As Creative Director of FILA India, how do you think the Indian consumer is different from International consumer in terms of taste and spending power?
Lepcha: India is a very dynamic and an interesting country with a vast mixture of culture, religion, weather and geographical landscapes and along with it comes a variety of opportunities as well as challenges. Each region in India has its own cultural background and way of life, and this directly impacts taste, thinking and the way of living.
Indians are emotional to purchases and spending compared to other countries. These multiple factors play a major role in determining the design direction.
The Indian consumer plays with basic and strong colours and are very straight forward in their choices. Experimental colours are a bit risky and would not capture the mind easily as each colour carries a certain meaning to each culture and hence understanding of the regions is very important.
The Indian consumer is price sensitive but their spending behaviour has definitely changed in the last decade. With an easy access to the media and different apps, they are directly connected to the rest of the world, which has led to an increase in understanding of what is ‘in trend’ and things that are happening globally in various areas like lifestyle, sports, music or fashion.
They are more open to new ideas, yet, stay a bit conservative on experimenting unless it is done by someone else or by celebrities that they follow.
Consumers look for higher durability in a product along with fashion. Even though the spending power has increased over the decade, the ratio of ‘necessity buying’ is still higher than ‘buying for fashion’.
What are the top Sportswear trends to look out for this year?
Lepcha: As I had mentioned earlier, Athleisure is still going strong. Gym and training pieces worn as lifestyle will continue to run the market.
The trend is also moving towards functionality. Consumers are looking for more than performance but technology in their clothing. Outdoor trend with influences of hiking gear is something to watch out for. You integrate elements that are protective for surviving on a summit with non-technical fashion pieces. It is a mixture of utility with fashion. This is mountain-friendly clothing that is worn in the streets. Unlike most fashion trends, this one is both practically advantageous and stylish.
FILA recently launched a limited-edition collection called FILA EXPLORE in India and across the globe.
The collection combines a spirit of adventure, sports and style. It is inspired by the outdoor hiking, trekking and camping and includes footwear, apparel and accessories that are colourful and has a fresh take on outdoor-wear trend. Techwear is clothing for everyday life with special fabric, construction and properties that allow for breathability, movement, water-resistance and comfort.
The appeal of forward-thinking clothes that provide both utility and comfort is what makes techwear so ‘need-it-now’.
The main appeal of techwear clothing is that it can make life easier, whether it’s being able to carry more stuff on a weekend trip or to stay dry in a downpour but remain fashionable at the same time.
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