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Founded by Leonardo Servadio in Perugia, Italy, Ellesse has been bridging the gap between trendy clothes and sportswear since 1959. Having been born into a family of textile merchants who were the owners of a popular textile store in Perugia, Servadio was destined to start a clothing company.

Being an avid skiing fan, finding the right ski wear for him was always a struggle and he decided to take matters into his own hands, using the connections at his disposal to make his own. Bringing tailoring techniques and groundbreaking technology to the manufacturing of sportswear as well as groundbreaking technology, Servadio had started a sporting brand with an enviable Italian style and finesse.

The famous half ball Ellesse logo combines a cross-section of a tennis ball with the tops of a pair of skis, symbolising the brand’s heritage in skiing and tennis. The name Ellesse is the literal pronunciation of Servadio’s initials, L.S. The brand gained recognition as a winter sports brand, shifting the notion of boring and functional skiwear to bold, fun and fashionable. 

Seeing the success of their winter gear, they channelled their focus to tennis gear as well. Rumour has it that Ellesse began placing their logo on the outside of their clothes, and are historically reported to have been one of the first brands to do so.

“Make it beautiful, make it better.”

It was always the sporting brand with that added sex appeal, employing calendar girls and playboy photographers to promote it. Servadio incorporated every tool in the marketing book to become a dominant global force; from being the 1982 jersey of the World Cup Champions Italy to sponsoring the New York marathon in the 1980s.

With its recognisable colour palette and semi palla logo, Ellesse presents itself as the perfect union of sportswear and lifestyle. The brand has introduced different lines such as Ellesse Italia and Ellesse Heritage to cater to a larger demographic. While Italia is catered to providing trendy activewear, Heritage has a more niche approach – providing for the younger, more fashion-conscious consumer.