BEHIND THE BRAND: KAPPAApril 3, 2017
Playing a huge part in European football culture and contemporary sportswear, Italian brand Kappa is equal parts fashion and modern activewear. Taking Kappa’s signature elements, such as their iconic logo, taped detailing and popper bottoms, we collaborated with the brand to create an exclusive, ‘90s-inspired collection that combines modern sportswear aesthetics with classic Kappa styling. We caught up with a Kappa insider to find out more about the brand’s history, their ethos and where their logo came from.
UO: Can you tell us a little about the heritage of Kappa and how the company has evolved over the years?
Kappa was founded as a sock firm in Turin, Italy in 1916 but we didn’t become ‘Kappa’ until 1967 and the UK didn’t really start to get it until the early 80s. Kappa became a household name because of its European football culture, kitting out the likes of Man city, Juventis, Barcelona and even the US Olympic team in 1984. Now, however, Kappa has evolved into a fashion heritage brand, the logo is so iconic and recognised that its hard to miss someone wearing a Kappa piece.
UO: What kind of customer does Kappa attract and why do you think this is?
London teens and fashion types alike have really empowered Kappa, we have transcended that stigma that was put on the brand over a decade ago and we now have these tastemakers that were young when they saw Sporty Spice jumping around in a Kappa tracksuit, picking up the brand up and showing us what they can do with it, how they can wear it etc. There’s definitely an element of nostalgia but it’s so much more than that. Kappa is really being worn as a fashion statement, and we plan to keep it that way.
UO: What is the ethos of Kappa in three words?
Equality, Italian sport, and style
UO: What is the relationship between form and function when designing products?
Function is always front of mind when designing products used in performance of any sport. In designing Kappa’s Authentic collections we continually delve into our archives to ensure that sport performance products from our rich heritage are fused with modern fabrics, colour palettes & silhouette to give newness with a pre-loved feel.
UO: How do you think sportswear is evolving?
Well, we have been on the 90s trend for a while now and Europe has really been leading the way with that. Now it is becoming global but people are starting to look into other decades such as the 70s and 80s for inspiration. You can expect to see some contemporary tailoring paired with sportswear, people are going to start to push boundaries…
UO: Why do you think that retro sportswear is becoming such a major trend?
Streetwear and skateboarding have been widely accepted as the fashion word but the retro brands like Kappa were yet to really make a proper impact on Europeans fashion elite. Then we had Collaborations as Gosha, who showed people that these brands can be high end and turned these once low-brow brands on their heads! People want to go back to the glory days, where things were a lot simpler and not about how many likes you can get on a photo – dress how you feel and what you like.
UO: Where did the Kappa logo come from?
The Kappa Logo was made purely by coincidence and it is actually a man and a woman ( a lot of people think it is two women) and it stands for equality across both genders!
UO: How has Kappa’s style and aesthetic changed since the late 60s/early 70s?
Well, we are no longer just a sportswear/football brand we are now a brand that can produce lifestyle pieces. Pieces that can be worn at a club or a breakfast meeting.
UO: What are Kappa’s signature features, colours and styles?
Our signature piece is probably the popper bottoms, it is so iconic and we really want to own that market. They were first introduced by Kappa years ago, originally just to change out of your footie gear but now…you can