Nostalgia For 1990s Fashion A Boon For Smaller Sneaker Brands

Retro apparel and footwear trends continue to be a source of strength for large apparel brands, but the market's appetite for vintage styles has also given rise to several nostalgia brands that were once nearly forgotten.

Brands like Iconix Brand Group Inc ICON-owned Pony, K-Swiss and FILA are experiencing a second wind, especially now that fashion trends have keyed in to the 1990s.

The consumer search for unique products is seemingly leading to smaller, older and still-recognizable brands.

Don't Call It A...

“We are in the midst of the '90s nostalgia retro style [comeback] where brands like Fila, Pony, Puma and Reebok can bring in new products to feel new, but [they] are really old. The combination of having both a retro product and being a smaller brand is a potent combination,” NPD Group’s Matt Powell told Benzinga.

“Clearly, Vans is winning in a major way right now. As you step back, Puma and FILA would be next [and] the K-Swiss and Pony market share is tiny."

While fashion has been in a retro cycle for quite some time, it was not focused on a particular decade prior to the last 18 months, Powell said. He expects the trend to continue as long as the product pipeline remains fresh.

Balancing Past, Present, Future

The FILA Disruptor shoe was the second-most popular female fashion product in the second quarter of 2018, according to a new report from Lyst.

The brand is not relying on nostalgia, said Louis Colon III, director of FILA Heritage.

"We can balance being a fashion brand of today and tomorrow. Once brands rely on so much on what the past was, they will end up having the shortest life of all the brands. The ones that can balance past present and future are the ones that will last,” Colon said.

NPD Group's Powell said if the market is counting on the Fila Disruptor to again grab attention next year, "we are in trouble — but Fila has all kinds of good products to bring back."

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Image credit: Max Pixel

Posted In: FilaK-SwissMatt PowellPonyReebokTop StoriesExclusivesInterview