Kappa® is one of the leading brands in sportswear and lifestyle worldwide: a technical, nonconformist, colorful, flexible, competent, global and Italian brand.
In 1956 a faulty stock of socks manufactured by Maglificio Calzaturificio Torinese (MCT), a company established by Abramo Vitale in 1916, was mistakenly distributed on the market. Retailers returned the goods and MCT, to give the product renewed strength and credibility, branded the new collection’s packaging with a “K” and the German caption “Kontroll”. From that moment customers only ordered the socks with the K – and in a short time Kappa® became a leader of the socks and underwear market. In 1968 Kappa® further evolved following the events unfolding at the time that would change history – 23-yr-old Maurizio Vitale, the founder’s great-grandson and newly-appointed managing director, saw John Lennon interviewed on TV, wearing a military shirt belonging to a casualty of the Vietnam war. Thus he had an intuition destined to conquer a market eager for casual and unisex clothes: Maurizio Vitale had thousands of unsold T-shirts, that were lying in warehouses, dyed green and customized with military stars and insignia. It was the birth of the Robe di Kappa® brand - as the new products were called – which reached a vast target of young consumers and entered the collective imagination with the creation of the “Omini” logo – the silhouette of a young couple sitting back to back, emphasizing how the polo shirt, the new brand’s iconic item, is for both men and women.
The 70s brought new changes in the taste of young consumers. Marco Boglione – MCT’s young sales and marketing director – picked up on the demand for technical sportswear and convinced Maurizio Vitale to establish a dedicated department, Robe di Kappa® Sport, renamed a few years later simply as Kappa®. Over the following decade the Kappa® brand established itself as the quintessential sports brand – in 1979 it was the technical sponsor of Juventus F.C. and it kitted the athletes of the national US Track and Field team at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984, and in Seul in 1988.
Seven years after Maurizio Vitale’s premature death MCT went bankrupt. It was 1994, in the meantime Marco Boglione had become an entrepreneur and his company, Football Sport Merchandise, purchased MCT. Boglione relaunched the Kappa®, Robe di Kappa® and Jesus Jeans® brands thanks to a new, totally web-integrated business model and changed the company’s name to BasicNet. Following in-depth restructuring, Kappa®’s relaunch in the second half of the 90s was a fundamental step in the brand’s evolution: Sportswear had become part of the youth’s everyday look, and the 222 “banda” tracksuit – the first featuring a vertical repetition of the logo, ispired by US athlete’s outfits - became the brand’s icon, achieving maximum popularity especially in the UK, also thanks to the influence of Britpop, with Mel C (Spice Girls), Oasis and Damon Albarn (Blur), who wore Kappa on the tracks as well as on stage conquering an entire generation.
Just before year 2000 Kappa® started a new revolution and at the same time made a dream come true: it became the technical sponsor of the Italian national soccer team and for the 2002 World Cup it sent its champions on the field wearing the Kappa® KOMBAT™, an innovative technical shirt made of cutting-edge elastic fabric that introduced the “stop stopping” concept: if the opponent grabs a player’s shirt it allows the player to bring play to completion as the fabric will stretch for up to one metre, with the first 30-40 cm completely inert. The amount of stretch also makes it easier for the referee to spot foul play. It was a true revolution which would change soccer’s rules of engagement worldwide. Currently Kappa® sponsors about 100 among the most important soccer teams and sports federations worldwide – in Italy, the “Omini” grace athletes from the Italian Winter Sports Federation and have featured at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games on the fencing, canoeing and martial arts outfits.
From sports gear to urban style: in 2016 – exactly 60 years from the brand’s creation - Kappa® is back on the world’s street style scene thanks to its iconic products that caught the attention of international stylists and designers, spawning important collaborations with Marcelo Burlon and Faith Connexion, leading to a collection by Russian designer and photographer Gosha Rubchinskiy, whose collections, inspired by post-USSR youth culture are produced by Comme des Garçons, who included Kappa® in their Pitti show. Currently the “Omini”, are part of the “youth culture” influenced by Selena Gomez, Lewis Hamilton, and Kyle Jenner, just to name a few, who choose to wear Kappa® thus providing inspiration to millions of followers, and once more bringing the brand in the limelight of a new contemporary aesthetics.
Sport Finance based in Nantes, France is responsible for the licensed operation of a portfolio of sports brands in Europe. The brands in the Sport Finance portfolio have the characteristic of operating in complementary sports world, or to apply together on its territory, to a place of leadership in their sport. They all have a strong DNA linked to their rich history, which Sport Finance is working to wake up and activate.
Sport Finance offers to a selective distribution, a wide range of clothing and sports brand shoes, ranging from performance to casual wear. Sport Finance's ambition is to make the group a recognized and respected partner of all sports distribution in Europe. To learn more : www.sportfinance.eu