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Overview of Volaro for Fila - This was my Undergraduate Thesis project. An exploration in branding. I began with the question, how can a struggling brand and a struggling sport unite to empower each other? The result is Volaro by Fila.
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FIla Brand Analysis - In order to more realistically design for FILA, I conducted a SWOT analysis and a brand matrix. Both these tools would help me position the brand better and also determine which assets the brand would advertise more so than others.
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Overview of Research - Fencing was a foreign entity to me when this project started. To better acquaint myself with the brand I conducted extensive research (summarized in this image). I attended amateur and professional tournaments, photographed and interviewed participants. I also attended the World Cup for Fencing, in Brooklyn, and interviewed Olympic Silver medalist TIm Morehouse and Olympic Gold medalist Matteo Tagliariol.
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Break down of the brand tier system - I broke the brand, Volaro, down into tiers to simulate a ranking system. This would encourage athletes to strive to move through the brand i.e. obtain new products, gain recognition through FILA, and join a higher echelon of athletes. The role of the tier system was duplicitous, FILA would be able to prove its involvement goes beyond the role of selling goods to users, and the athlete would feel more involved with their involvement with the brand and with their progress as an athlete.
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First Product iterations - Based on research and observation I found that the glove was the most intimate object in the fencer's repertoire: it almost never comes off, it is literally close to the athlete, and in most cases it is the only spot of color--which in such an austere sport means volumes. So, for FILA's launch into this sport I wanted to lead with a glove as opposed to a shoe. Designing a shoe as the initial product launch wouldn't seem sincere.
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Final Glove Concept - Current fencing gloves are bulky, clunky and resemble gardening gloves more than tools for a precise sport. I wanted FILA's glove to change that and propose a more effective alternative.
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Gauntlet Concept - To increase the brand's visibility I conceived of a gauntlet like object that would go over the glove and the sleeve of the fencer's uniform. This was done for two reasons: the moment where the sleeve meets the glove creates a bulky seam, the gauntlet presses that seam reducing the bulge; this gauntlet would visually distinguish the Volaro fencer from all others.
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Uniform Ideation - Although the design of the glove was my aim, I didn't want to leave the uniform unaddressed. Largely untouched for the last 60 years, the fencing kit that I encountered both at the World Cup and amateur tournaments was bulky and un-tailored. In a sport where every square in of ones body is a target, undue mass is a hindrance. So I set out, with the aid of a fashion designer, to tailor the suit's fit, material and aesthetic, to create a more streamlined and iconic uniform for the Volaro fencer.
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Unifomr Concept - These rapid sketches summarized the ideas that I wanted to incorporate into the fencer's kit: color, breathability, fit, and iconic style.
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Volaro by FIla
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Fila Volaro