A huge "Thanks!" to the team over at Fila for sending me the following press release involving the addition of budding fashionista James Blake to the brand's stable and his collaboration on a signature collection:
Fila announced today that it has entered into a collaboration arrangement with ATP World Tour star James Blake to develop a collection of men’s apparel and footwear. The collection will incorporate the heritage of the Fila brand with a contemporary twist inspired by Blake’s signature style. He will collaborate with Fila’s design team to create a co-branded collection. The yet to be named collection will target today’s active male and will be the basis for the development of a long-term licensing business for Blake.
The collection will include tennis, golf, fitness and lifestyle apparel, performance and lifestyle footwear and accessories for men. Fila and James Blake will also explore other product categories as opportunities arise in the market. The collection will debut with a limited collection of tennis and fitness apparel that will be unveiled just before the 2009 US Open in New York. The collection will officially launch for the Spring Summer 2010 season.
James will wear Fila branded or co-branded tennis apparel and footwear exclusively on court and he will be featured in Fila’s worldwide marketing efforts. He is the first top ten American male in over ten years to sign with Fila. James will debut in Fila’s Collezione Apparel Collection and the Fila Alfa shoe at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with an athlete of James Blake’s caliber,” said Gene Yoon, Chairman of Fila. “Fila has been associated with champions in tennis and other sports for over 35 years. We are certain that through our collaboration with James, we will create a range of products that combines the rich style of our historic brand and James’ active and sophisticated lifestyle.”
“I have always had an affinity for the Fila brand,” said James Blake. “Ever since Borg graced the courts of Wimbledon in Fila, I have always been attracted to the Italian style, grace and sophistication of the Fila brand. My collaboration with Fila is much more than an endorsement arrangement. It will serve as the foundation of a business venture that I that will continue to build for years to come.”
Fila has a long and distinguished history in the world of tennis. The company has endorsement agreements with several ATP Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour athletes, is a major sponsor of the Sony Ericsson Open, Tennis Tournament at Indian Wells, and the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and is the footwear licensee with The Championships at Wimbledon.
Congrats James! I wasn't sure about the move to Fila from Nike but if they're offering you an opportunity for a post-tennis business venture, the development of a signature line, and the ability to be creative, I say it's a very smart one.
UPDATED: Okay here's one for the funny file. Thanks to DtL reader (with the sharpest eyes) Allison for tipping me off to some obviously photoshopped images of James Blake on his website. It seems someone in the J-Block was wielding a busted magic eraser and removed the Nike swooshes from some of his clothing in the pics but forgot a few pesky ones here and there. Nice job.
Was it a bitter divorce? You decide.
(image via tennisweek.com)