Fila Tees It Up in North America

Feb 13th, 2009 | By | Category: Features, In The Hole!

All eyes are on Hawaii this weekend as the 2009 LPGA tour kicks off with the SBS Open at Turtle Bay.

You’ll be watching, right?

Stacy Lewis, shown here signing autographs at the 2009 PGA Merchandise show, is the new face of Fila Golf.

Stacy Lewis, shown here signing autographs at the 2009 PGA Merchandise show, is the new face of Fila Golf.

Then look for Stacy Lewis, “the new face of Fila Golf.”

Stacy, who turns 24 on February 16th, is considered a favorite for 2009 LPGA Rookie of the Year — a story made all the more riveting because she was born with scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) that threatened to put her on the sidelines before she’d even gotten started.

Today, the curvature has been stabilized with a metal rod, and thanks to Stacy’s considerable skills, excellent course management, and mature demeanor, we expect to see her name on the leaderboard more often than not.

We’ll also see her sporting some great new Fila golf gear over the course of the weekend, including their Genova and  Sussex polos.

Fila is known, of course, as one of the oldest and most respected sportswear brands in the world. Founded in 1911 in the Piedmont region of Italy, Fila began designing sportswear in the 70s. In 1973, an endorsement deal with tennis star Bjorn Borg* thrust the company’s bold yet stylish logo into living rooms around the world, and the brand was embraced by Boomer-era athletes who recognized good design when they saw it.

Fila Golf's Messina women's polo in Heritage Blue

Fila Golf's Messina women's polo in Heritage Blue

Since then, Fila has retained its reputation as a premiere sportwear apparel designer; the brand has been worn by tennis greats like Anna Chakvetadze, for example, who has held a top-twenty WTA Tour  ranking for the last three years.

Now Fila has turned its attention to golf:  it announced a deal last December with North American apparel manufacturer Fersten Worldwide to offer Fila-branded golf clothing in the United States and Canada.

For Nancy Robitaille, Apparel and Headwear Designer, Fersten Worldwide, the deal with Fila presented a thrilling opportunity to evolve as a designer.

Nancy is a 15-year veteran of the sportswear industry who began designing for Fersten Worldwide and FW Golf four years ago. She’s enjoyed her tenure with Fersten Worldwide considerably. “When Fersten Worldwide offered me this job, I took it and never looked back. I couldn’t be in a better position as far as designing is concerned, or work for a better company.”

Then came the Fila deal — and a great job suddenly got even better. “Adding the Fila golf brand has given me the chance to push the design envelope. ”

How so?

Fersten Worldwide and FW Golf, Nancy explains, are corporate sportwear brands; they focus on classic styling.

Stacy Lewis will wear the Fila Genova hat on the LPGA tour this season.

Stacy Lewis will wear the Fila Genova hat on the LPGA tour this season.

The Fila collection, on the other hand, gives Nancy the opportunity to design for retail-driven markets. “I’m able to take more chances with fabrics and color combinations. Colors can be more vibrant.”

Fila’s fit and styling also offer Nancy new design options. “The Fila fit is a more European cut — it fits more closely to the body.”

Fila golf fabrics, she adds, are selected to be soft to the touch and lightweight.

And does she have any favorites in her Fila Golf clothing collection? “I love all of our pieces, but I keep coming back to our skorts,” she says. “I’m excited by our Malaga skort — it has a pleated hem with contrast piping — and our Rimini skort, with its mesh ruffled hem and asymmetrical mesh panel on the side.”

fila-marseille-striped-poloThe Fila Golf skorts are unique, Nancy adds, because they are knits: the fabric (recycled polyester) is both stretchy and moisture-wicking. “Our skorts are worn by women who love the feminine look of the skort, but don’t like the fact that woven materials don’t breath,” Nancy explains.”By choosing knits, we’ve created a line of skorts that will be more comfortable and will look great long after you’ve putted out number 18.”

Other highlights of Fila Golf’s spring collection include the Genova women’s polo, available in six color combinations. “We consider it one of the core basics of our Fila collection,” Nancy says. “Its asymetrical princess lines bring the eye to the center of the garment for a slimming effect, and the open placket with single button exposure give a feminine touch.”

Another of Nancy’s personal favorites is the Marseille stripe shirt. “It’s very Parisian,” she says. “Rounded neckline, cap sleeves, and very sexy red buttons on the placket.”

Fila’s headwear is color-coordinated with its apparel. The Lucca cap is a cotton-linen blend — very lightweight — and the Verona Visor comes in four great color combinations, including Shocking Pink and Black.

Nancy Robitaille, Apparel and Headwear Designer, Fersten Worldwide

Nancy Robitaille, Apparel and Headwear Designer, Fersten Worldwide

So what’s in the future for Fila’s golf clothing? “I see the collection growing extensively,” Nancy says. “We’ll be adding new ideas every year.

“But at the same time, we’ll be staying true to our Italian heritage and styling, with performance features like moisture wicking that meet the needs of our customers.”

Customers including Stacy Lewis. “We are very excited about Stacy,” Nancy says. “We’re going to love watching her grow into the next great LPGA superstar.

“She’s really incredible — and she looks great wearing Fila!”

(Look for the Fila Golf Collection in your local pro shop or golf specialty retailer in the coming weeks — and be sure to bookmark us and check back often — we’ll be providing updates on where you can buy Fila online in the future as well!)

*Borg and Fila are no longer affiliated.

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