Superstar Serena Williams joined fashion designer powerhouse Virgil Abloh at the West Side Tennis Club on Monday afternoon to reveal their new athleisure clothing line with Nike. Limited items will be available at select Nike stores starting in late August.
The Nike x Virgil Abloh for Serena Williams “Queen” Collection is based on William’s passion for dance, and in particular, ballet.
“I love dance, and when I train, in the past especially, I get tired of doing cardio and bikes so I look for ways to express myself in a different way, and I do that through dance,” Williams said. “When I teamed up with Virgil and he pulled out a tutu, I was like this is the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”
Throughout her career, fashion has played a significant role. Some of Williams’ most fashionable moments occurred on the court which is why she tends to put research into current trends as well as finding fresh ideas that will influence others.
“This is such a fun sport where you can wear what you want and still look amazing,” she said, adding that she went to school to study fashion. “For me, it was really important to bring fashion to my job.”
When designing the collection, Abloh wanted to tell the narrative of dance in relation to tennis. His goal was to showcase how using another genre of creativity could be impactful for Williams and other athletes alike. He used aspects from her personal narrative to craft the collection.
“Serena is an embodiment of what hard work and motivation can do, especially coming from non-obvious places to the top of the field,” Abloh said. “That’s the point where I design fashion from. I don’t design fashion as status symbols but rather as representations of people.”
The collaboration weaves together William’s passions and Abloh’s subversive take on the style of tennis. Abloh has been the Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton's men's wear collection since March and he also serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house he founded in 2013.
The limited collection includes a dress, jacket, Nike Air Max 97 and Nike Blazer. The items range from $130 to $900 and can be purchased at select Nike stores. Williams will wear her tennis outfits at the U.S. Open next week.
The two also chatted with young tennis players from around the city about achieving dreams and having fun no matter the goal. “It feels great to accomplish a lot in my life, as an athlete and as a woman,” Williams said. “I’ve been given this amazing talent and I feel like it’s my responsibility to give back.”
Williams, who has faced her share of scrutiny, stressed the importance of self-confidence.
“A lot of people can be negative or say things that aren’t true, so just always look on the bright side,” Williams said. “For me, it’s about growth. You’re growing and learning things your whole life, so as long as you can keep an attitude and stay positive, the whole world opens up to you.”
Throughout his entire career, Abloh found that there was one piece of advice that always held true: work hard and try your best.
“It sounds almost corny, and everyone always says this, but it’s now ringing true,” he said. “It’s so simple but it works without fail 100 percent of the time. I was always looking for this magical piece of advice but if you work hard and try, you will not fail.
“Just wake up in the morning and focus on what your goal is and over time you’ll gradually start seeing those goals come true,” Abloh added.