Rave On: The DJs of Fila’s New Campaign Discuss The Brand’s Dancefloor Legacy
Missing the dancefloor? Fila certainly is. As we draw close to a whole year of the clubs being shut, the brand is celebrating four decades as a nightlife staple with a campaign that explores the relationship between sportswear and the UK rave scene.
Fila’s induction as go-to party attire came in the late 1980s with the explosion of acid house. As hard-knock footy casuals – who proudly wore Italian sportswear brands in the terraces – began to start clubbing, the introduction of ecstasy meant different subcultures came united through the music, inside Manchester’s The Haçienda and beyond. The bold colours, brash logo placements and relaxed fit of a Fila get-up became part of a larger rave gear movement seen across UK clubs in the 1990s.
Today, Fila honours the dancefloors that have shaped the brand with Find Your Freedom. Bringing together a roster of talent – spanning over three decades – the campaign aims to shine a light on the struggles DJs all over Britain have faced for the past twelve months. Shot in London’s iconic Fabric, Fila gets behind the decks with Leeroy from the Prodigy, rave scene legends RatPack, DJ Oneman as well and up-and-coming talent LCY and YAZZUS. Each of the five names discusses the impact the clubs being closed as had on their lives, as well as the freedom they feel when playing for a room full of people. They also talk about how seminal sportswear is to clubbing – a raving uniform pioneered by working-class kids all over the country.
In celebration of the campaign’s release, we asked each of the talents featured what role Fila has played in their clubbing attire over the years. Run the riddim.
“Fila for me started a long time before the rave scene, even when we were break dancing when the casual thing comes in. My first introduction was Bjorn Bjorg and then Fila went into the casual scene and every single gig you went to you would spot that F at the front, it was always a part of my kit. I’ll tell you, I’ve burnt my way through a few Fila’s on stage, and I’m rocking the same Fila trainers 30 years on!”
MC Evenson Allen: “In the rave days Fila was the style, all the bucket hats, beanies, and the classic striped tracksuit top – everyone wanted that badge of honour.”
DJ Lipmaster Mark: “I remember in the original breakdancing days everyone used to go about in their Fila tracksuit Fila and it was always ever-present on that scene. People would turn up in their Fila rollnecks and tracksuits and it was coveted wear man! We remember seeing it in the crowd way back in 1992 and we still see it in the crowds now.”
“My style is definitely sportswear and activewear based. I love chunky trainers and Fila lead in this trend. Sportswear has given me a sense of security growing up and I don’t think you’ll ever get me out of sportswear!”
“I grew up in South London in the Millenium and JD Sports was where I’d get my clothes, it would always be tracksuits, trainers, and baseball caps and Fila always sparked my interest for its cool sportswear.”
“Rave culture and fashion, they go hand-in-hand. I’m a big admirer of 1990s fashion and culture, Obviously, brands like Fila were a really big influence back in the day and continue to be for me now. When I’m raving it’s all about comfort and for me, sportswear is the best.”
Photography courtesy of Fila.