Nas x Fila


I’ve been seeing these ads all over the Tube recently, promoting Nas’ recent collaboration with Fila…

Nas for Fila at JD

Nas for Fila at JD

and to be honest I’ve only got one question – what the f*ck? And this isn’t just because of my general aversion to Fila, which since an early age has smacked of awful quality and outdated design (Fila was the kind of brand that in my primary school you got bullied for wearing, holding about the same caché as le coq sportif), but mainly because of Nas’ profession of his love for Nike on record since he released Illmatic in 1994, and his relative silence on the topic of the Italian brand. Until now that is –

‘My best friend Will and I loved Fila. It represented prestige and everything that was cool to us. When Will passed, we buried him in a black Fila sweatsuit, so doing a deal with them has a lot of significance for me’

Nas released this statement to the press in June, back when the collaboration was announced, and for me comprises a nice little vignette to the concept of the brand. Any marque would be proud to hear such words spoken of them, and it comes across as real evidence of the power that brands have to connect with people that has possibly been lost by traditional centres of influence in our society. But I’m sorry Nasir, I just don’t buy it…

Now wait, another dose and you might be dead

And I’m a Nike head, I wear chains that excite the feds

And ain’t a damn thing gonna change

I’m a performer strange, show the mic warmer was born to gain…

Nas, Halftime, Illmatic


I’m classic like a Air One

The hustler’s shoe

That’s what I’m accustomed to…

Nas, Classic (Nike remix feat. Rakim, Kanye West and KRS One)

So what happened Nas? Fila came knocking and the money was just too good to pass up, and that offer from Nike never came? It all just rings false for me personally, but what is clear is that Fila are really trying to push a hiphop association with this campaign, and that they are taking it seriously by teaming up with an industry legend that possesses real credibility, unlike this chump for example…

Lil Jon decked out in Fila at the Hip Hop Honors 2008

Lil Jon decked out in Fila at the Hip Hop Honors 2008

What I’m wondering is, will this tack work? Celebrity endorsements are by no means rare, but they usually come on the back of some noticeable improvement in the product, which seems severely lacking in the Nas x Fila range…

Nas x Fila

Nas x Fila

which to me still looks cheap, tacky, and worst of all, like Fila. Which notably these do not –

R-Sole x Fila

RSole x Fila

Now this is the direction I think Fila should be taking. Instead of focussing on high profile celebrity endorsement with no noticable product improvement, they should be concentrating on making their clothes and trainers desirable in the first place. This Fila collaboration with RSole are breathtakingly beautiful when compared to Nas’ tired hi-tops, which couldn’t look much more like Reebok Workouts if they tried. The key thing is that I want them, which I haven’t felt about anything Fila before, ever. Unfortunately, they’re ridiculously limited, with only 72 pairs being released in RSole boutiques in St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee, but they’re still getting a buzz online that will translate into a better perception of the Fila brand by those trend-setters who can make or break a label’s fortunes (remember Hush Puppies and The Tipping Point Fila? Well you should). And Nas, next time leave the money behind and save your dignity, you’re not that hard up.


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