Meet the designer: Pierluigi Rolando – 6

3 December 2020

In 1974 WHITE ROCK, the first sportswear line entirely devoted to mountain lovers, was launched with an international promotional campaign, through which FILA aimed to challenge tradition and link people to the new technological discoveries related to the Alpine universe.

A wide-ranging project with a gentle face, that of Giorgio Bertone, an Italian climber who became famous in the early Sixties for the routes he traced on Monte Bianco with innovative equipments. His soft attitude, along with a continuous thirst for adventures, conquered Pierluigi Rolando, who saw the birth of WHITE ROCK not only as a fashion designer. In October 1974 Manager Enrico Frachey asked him to supervise a visionary shooting indeed, almost an adventure: a climbing overseas, in the Californian reserve of Yosemite, aiming to take FILA up in the sky. Bertone led the mission of course, with Alpine guide Renzino Cosson by his side.

Through a ‘hard, laborious month’, the team had the chance to live several experiences. First, the discovery of Yosemite’s verdant nature, plenty of sequoia forests, resinous scents, breathtaking views. Second, the meeting with a community of hippy climbers, who introduced them to new methodological approaches: for example, the use of the so-called ‘nuts’, artisanal handles to cling the athlete’s body to the rock walls.

These new awarenesses helped Bertone and Cosson during their six-days expedition on El Capitan: the photographic shooting proves that, surrounded by impressive landscapes and elevations, the two explorers were able to set a new relationship between nature and human being, that later inspired new generations and practices such as free climbing. Once back, the Italian heroes were welcomed with enthusiasm – and also by a big party, remembered with affection by Rolando: It was what he felt for the entire experience as a whole: ‘it was an incredible journey, I learnt so much from climbing and most importantly I gained two new friends.


Born in Biella in the foothills of the ltalian Alps, WONNIE is a ski-loving white bear. Because he is from the snow­covered Alps, he is vulnerable to hot weather, and despite his size he has timid personality so he is always blushing. WONNIE is a gentle bear with heart of gold who easily find faults with himself even with small things but never blames others.