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The fashion industry is currently swept up in a storm of nostalgia. While mom jeans, platform sneakers and other ’90s trends used to be considered outdated, now they are all the right on trend.


Riding on this throwback wave, Italian heritage brand Fila and American sweatshirt producer Champion are enjoying another lease of life.


From 2016 to 2018 alone, Fila's sales increased 205% from U.S. $821 million to U.S. $2.51 billion.


Champion’s 2018 sales excluding the U.S. channel amounted to $1.36 billion, up from approximately $1 billion in 2017. The CEO of Champion’s parent company, Hanesbrands, also recognized the sports brand as a “growth initiative” which delivered “stronger than expected” results.


Compared to main industry players such as Nike and Adidas the two are smaller, unique brands — which are winning right now and growing faster than the industry.

Instead of accommodating the rapid turnaround of trends in the market, Champion and Fila have leveraged ongoing 90s obsession and refined their brand strategy to focus on their century-long heritage.


For Champion, that involved looking deep within its archive and picking out classic, iconic styles, like its best-selling Reverse Weave sweatshirts, then revamping them for today’s consumer, said Susan Hennike, the president of Champion North America.

Similarly, a spokesperson for Fila attributed the company’s success to the reinterpretation of its brand history and heritage.


So will it last?


To sustain their boom in popularity and compete with major sportswear players, Fila and Champion need to keep their ear to the ground to the consumer’s changing needs and environments, and remain technologically savvy.


Both of these brands have a rich history and a broad customer base. However, they need to retain both to stay relevant. While retro trends may have appeal now, it’s essential for brands to continue to move with the times and continue to innovate as consumer tastes change.

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