As one of the world's largest sport brands, Kappa sponsors a list ofsports stars and teams, and a wide range of European football teamstry to make dreams come true wearing Kappa. This goes for, among others, Italian Sampdoria and Brescia,Dutch Feyenoord, German Werder Bremen,Spanish Real Betis, Swedish Hammarby and Danish FC Copenhagen
It is hard to believe that a modern and progressive company like Kappa is almost a hundred years old. But the truth is that Kappa was founded as a sock and underwear company in 1916 in the Italian city Turin.
In the 1950s the Maglificio Calzificio Torinese (MCT), already a leading manufacturer of socks and underwear in Italy, created Kappa, a sub-brand of the Aquila brand, as a result of a production problem that had caused a loss in sales.
The crisis spurred MCT to launch a renewed and improved product line which would be tagged K - Kontrollen in an attempt to achieve new credibility with regard to quality.Sales boomed and in the seasons to come, market demand for garments with the K kept growing.
This was the mid-1950s, and Kappa had become a consolidated brand, in Italy the undisputed leader in the socks and underwear sector. 1969 saw the textile industry hit by recession, in a period marked by social change.MCT’s response was to diversify production.
The students’ movement had introduced the concept of casual wear, and MCT management decided to start up production of outerwear, based on the success of the firm’s best-selling brand. Robe di Kappa was born.
Marco Boglione, Kappa Legend
Mr Boglione, who joined MCT in 1976 at the age of 20. Turin then had a huge clothing manufacturing industry—now long gone—and MCT had 600 workers on its payroll (albeit down from 1,600 in 1964). The firm had shifted from making socks and underwear to casual clothing at around the end of the 1960s
However it had continued to make clothing, including most notoriously its Jesus Jeans ("Who loves me follows me," said provocative advertisements showing be-jeaned female backsides). Under Mr Boglione's prompting, MCT had expanded into sportswear at the end of the 1970s, sponsoring star-studded soccer teams such as Turin's Juventus and Amsterdam's Ajax
Mr Boglione left MCT to set up a mail-order business that sold the jerseys of leading soccer clubs to fans willing to pay a hefty price to wear the colours of their favourite teams. The firm paid royalties to the clubs and at one time had licences for 17 of the 18 teams in Italy's top football league. Meanwhile, MCT was sliding into bankruptcy. In January 1994, Mr Boglione decided to buy the assets of his former employer.
His return to MCT's run-down 22,000 square-metre (237,000 square-feet) factory was inauspicious; Mr Boglione's father thought his son would never make a success of it. Mr Boglione turned part of the second floor, where almost 200 weaving machines still lie abandoned, into an apartment, installing a metal shed as his bedroom and a plastic greenhouse as a bathroom. This was an unusual way to live and work—sleeping there was spooky, he says—but that did not stop Mr Boglione dreaming up something new for the clothing business.From the start at BasicNet, born as the internet began to take off, Mr Boglione created a virtual company, a paperless business in which as much as possible took place online. The firm makes nothing itself; it is simply a network of sourcing centres and territorial licensees for its brands, which as well as Jesus Jeans include Robe di Kappa and Superga.
Now barely 100 people work for BasicNet in Turin in MCT's old factory, which has been converted to offices. Their job is mostly product development and assembling collections. BasicNet's global marketing operations and the development of its licensee network also take place in Turin
The history of the Omini logo
The Omini logo also dates back to 1969 when, during a photo session for the Beatrix bathing suits (another MCT brand) catalogue, photographers realized they had come up with more than just a pretty picture. It was a shot of a young man and woman, both naked and sitting back to back, their outlines traced by back lighting.
The shot was not used in the catalogue. Instead, it became the new Robe di Kappa logo. In the late 1970 MCT made the move into sportswear and technical sports gear.The new division inherited the original Kappa brand and would feature the Omini logo, which by now had become a recognized symbol of quality and style
The 70’s and 80’s saw lots of happy Kappa moments. In 1973 the classic Robe di Kappa Pique Polo was introduced, and it is still one of the world’s best selling polo shirts. In 1981 Kappa sponsored the world famous New York Marathon crossing the Atlantic for the first time. The invasion of the US continued, and 1983 marked the beginning of a 10-year sponsorship of the US Track and Field Team
At the Olympics in Los Angeles and Seoul, mega stars like Carl Lewis, Florence Griffith-Joyner and Edwin Moses climbed one podium after another, wearing threads from Kappa.
Italians dig football – and so does Kappa. In the 70’s Kappa started sponsoring the local Turin club Juventus, and in 1980’s Kappa was one of Europe’s leading sport brands. International clubs like A. C. Milan, Roma and Ajax Amsterdam . all wore Kappa, and they were joined in the 90’s by clubs like Barcelona and Red Star Belgrade.
In 1996 Juventus won their third Champions League final wearing Kappa,In recent years the soccer star Cobi Jones is one of Kappa’s triumphs, wearing Kappa boots while playing a record season for the LA Galaxy and the US National Team
The Italian national soccer team, too, made sport and fashion headlines, when the players entered the pitch during Euro 2000 wearing the new Kombat shirt
Kappa has also entered the Danish market. In March 2002, the company agreed to sponsor the football club F. C. Århus and in November 2003 a sponsor deal was made with the female rowing team ‘Guld 4’eren’. During the summer 2004, a four-year sponsor deal was made with league champions F. C. København. The deal caused a great deal of attention, and it is probably the largest football sponsorship to date in Denmark.