Nike and tennis superstar Serena Williams have their first big reveal of a collection designed by up-and-coming creative talent. A mix of performance and lifestyle apparel, accessory and footwear offerings, designs reference William’s enduring, champion-filled tennis career as well as her personal style preferences.
Reflecting a favorite performance silhouette, the debut capsule includes a black bodysuit a single, contrasting white sleeve. A basketball jersey dress is screened with Williams 00, a dual reference to tennis scoring described as love love and a shout out to Williams’ daughter Olympia Ohanian. There is also a cheery orange and gold jumpsuit featuring a repeat S-shaped diamond pattern.
The capsule also features a Nike Court Legacy sneaker detailed with a West African-inspired patterned cloth and four gold eyelets representing William’s four Olympic gold medals. There is also an RYZ 365 2 sneaker and an Air Max Koko platform sandal.
First announced in 2019, the capsule of apparel, accessories and footwear was conceptualized by 10 New York-based apprentices who were selected to be part of a six-month long incubator ending with the potential for fulltime employment. In an effort to take a new approach to uncovering talent, Nike partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Show, local community colleges and its own retail stores to reach populations traditionally underrepresented in the design community. Seven of the 10 apprentices have since been brought on as full time hires.
In a press release, the 23 time Grand Slam title winner Williams explained, ““It was casting a wide net, asking where are all you getting your designers from, and saying let’s cast a net over here or over there, where you typically wouldn’t go.”
Nike has stated a goal of achieving a racial and ethnic minority employee population of 35 percent of its U.S. corporate workforce by 2025, up from 29 percent now.
Williams will compete in the U.S. Open in New York in September and will wear pieces of the collection during her off-court appearances. “I’ll probably wear it every day off the court. Since I’ve gotten it, I don’t want to take it off,” she commented.
Priced from $6 for a headband up to $120 for the Air Max Koko sandal, Nike and Williams’ Design Crew collection is now available at nike.com, Nike stores and at select retailers on September 1, 2021.