Outdoor wear is having a fashionable moment (hello, Tevas). As a result, brands like Fila are finding ways to capitalize on the trend, adopting styles typically sold by the likes of Patagonia with a fashion-forward twist. Beginning July 26, Fila will open nine pop-up stores worldwide to launch the brand’s limited-edition Fila Explore collection — roughly 140 pieces inspired by the elements.
The brand will have a three-week pop-up in NYC’s Soho neighborhood, as well as shorter-term stores in Los Angeles, London, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, India and Berlin. Fila’s shift into outdoor gear comes as more fashion brands are creeping into territory held by brands like The North Face and Columbia, said 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,” Colon said.
According to recent data from market research provider Euromonitor International, the outdoor apparel, or outwear, category is projected to grow 9.4% in the U.S. from 2018 to 2023, from $198.8 billion to $217.4 billion. The adoption of outdoor apparel has hit high-fashion brands like Prada and streetwear brands like Supreme via a 2018 collaboration with The North Face. It even sparked a trend New York Magazine first referenced as “gorpcore” in May 2017, or the mixing of outdoor gear with everyday wear.
Some attribute the growth to a rise in athleisure, as well as an uptick in both brands and consumers focusing on wellness. As of 2018, the global wellness industry was said to be worth $4.2 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
“As physical and mental well-being are becoming equally important to consumers, people are increasingly engaging in outdoor fitness, rather than taking part in indoor classes or exercising at the gym,” said“As a result, outdoor activities such as boot camps, track clubs, hiking and extreme sports are all gaining popularity.”
For Fila, adventure and exploration have been part of the brand’s history dating back to 1978, when Fila worked with legendary climber Reinhold Messner. The duo co-created custom high-tech mountain gear.
The Fila Explore collection is broken into four sub-collections, inspired by different parts of nature: canyon, woods, mountains and elements. Among included styles are tank tops for $35, wind jackets for $95, backpacks for $75 and sandals for $45.
“This outdoor movement has been growing from season to season, getting larger and larger with the awareness of Earth and the environment. People wanting to be out and immersed in nature was a natural pitch for us,” said RoDerick Gilbert, design director at Fila. “Using a topographical map, we figured out a way to create that into a graphic element that is threaded through the collection.”
With Fila’s last limited-edition Mindblower collection, the brand opened four pop-ups. This time around, Colon said the brand wanted to go bigger, moving into nine locations and creating immersive, Instagrammable experiences for fans. At each pop-up, the brand will have 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 give those Instagrammable 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. They get to leave with an experience,” he said.
Fila Explore will officially launch at ComplexCon in Chicago this weekend. The brand has participated in ComplexCon for the last two years and has seen a lot of success there in terms of resonating with the early adopters that Fila wants to go after, said Colon.
Outside of ComplexCon, the brand will rely heavily on its social media channels to promote the line. Fila will also work with a handful of influencers who will both wear and promote Fila Explore on their own social media accounts. Plus, the brand’s lookbook for the collection will run in the upcoming issue of Vogue.