Hallelujah! Fila and Haider Ackermann take over Manchester

An unexpected link-up between the Italian sportswear brand and Colombian designer was an all-dancing, all-clubbing affair.

Fila and Haider Ackermann took to the North for their first collaboration together, picking Manchester and its clubbing history as the backdrop.

Sure, the collaboration might have sounded a little unexpected: an 111-year-old Italian sportswear brand combining with the romantic styles of Colombian designer, Ackermann, in a city in the North of England.

But with Fila’s history a firm part of Manchester youth style – whether worn on the football terraces of the 1980s, or by the acid house ravers of the early-’90s – it made sense.

Taking place in the city’s Mayfield Depot – a cavernous former railway station – the influence of Manchester’s heady nightlife, both past and present, was palpable from the off.

The space was given a facelift in 2019, and now houses up to 10,000 punters most weekends, for parties such as The Warehouse Project. Fittingly, a techno soundtrack kicked off as the first looks were marched down a stark white runway in front of an audience including Andrew Garfield, Emma D’Arcy and New Order legend, Bernard Sumner.

The collaboration took typical elements of a sports collection, such as windbreakers, leggings, bodysuits and swimming trunks, but gave them the Ackmermann punch. Just the colour palette alone was a visual feast, with acid lime greens, electric blues, and tangerine orange all working, somehow, harmoniously with one another.

Ackermann wrote of striving for the neatness of the youth cultures both Manchester and the rest of England are known for” – and that uniformity came out in droves, with slick bomber jackets, wraparound sunglasses and intense colour blocking forming like a cult movement before our eyes (movement being emphasised in more literal ways, too: bodysuits leaving the legs naked and free, and zip-up track tops massively oversized for space on the dancefloor).

There was nothing half-hearted about this latest collaboration from Fila: an all-dancing, all-moving shake-up of traditional sportswear that felt as giddy and alive as a Friday night in one of Manchester’s storied warehouse raves. Madferit.

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