COURTSIDE: DIANE McCAFFREY
Our blog event devoted to interviews is back with a very special guest: Diane McCaffrey, Vice President of Apparel Development and Merchandising at FILA USA. Diane has visited the Foundation recently, so we took the opportunity to ask her a few secrets about what it means to work for the brand in an operational way.
Thanks to the gradual improvement of the global situation, our Archive in Biella is starting to welcome international protagonists of the FILA universe again: in the past weeks we had the pleasure to find Diane McCaffrey after a long time. American born, Diane has been working for FILA for 25 years and she’s currently Vice President of Apparel Development and Merchandising. As a guest of the Foundation, she’s been here to supervise the brand’s upcoming projects, and of course she couldn’t escape our questions…
Dear Diane, it’s so good to meet you and interview people inside our museum, finally in person! We would love to start talking about your background and education. What can you tell us about that?
DIANE McCAFFREY: I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York: I was interested in apparel, but I couldn’t design or draw anything at all! Then I decided to study textile and apparel product management, and when I left college I found myself involved in jobs that were specifically related to activewear. I have been working for FILA for twenty-five years, since 1997…!
Your experience at FILA USA is incredibly enduring. How did you start to work for the company?
DM: I was living in Connecticut in that period, but my now-husband wanted to come back to the New York area. I found out that FILA was searching for a Product Manager for basketball, so I applied in order to be near to New Jersey, where I grew up.
Talking about basketball, your debut was in 1997, it was the explosion of the Change the Game era. What do you remember of that period in sport and culture, what are your memories?
DM: Basketball was very important for FILA at the time. I was hired to work alongside the basketball designers – there was nobody but designers in New York. In 1997 it was all about basket: Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Jerry Stackhouse…I remember getting my trips to Detroit to meet Grant Hill, to present the designs we produced and discuss changes he might wanted to do, whether it was colors or design lines. He was very sweet, a very nice person to work with.
You’re currently Vice President of Apparel Development and Merchandising. Which are the most interesting and exciting parts of the projects you work on?
DM: I love having my hands on all of the products, in all categories: I usually say this joke, ‘if I don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist’ (laughs). Everything goes through me, in one way or another, whether it is about design review or the development of details such as fabrics, trims or logos. I love being able to involved in every part of the process.
You have visited our museum in Biella a lot of times, discovering it with different displays. What intrigues you the most about the unique history of FILA?
DM: The history and the ways it has been organized here at the Foundation are just amazing. Thinking that everything is here, under an only roof, is incredible. The city of Biella is so welcoming and beautiful, just like its people – everyone is so kind and helpful.
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