Serena Williams’ impact on fashion and culture as she prepares to retire

Serena Williams has a documented and storied history in the world of tennis. However, this has also made her a household name in another industry. fashion.

Williams has always been a trendsetter, mastering a country club sport previously dominated largely by whites, and through her exceptional resilience, she has paved the way for many.

In her tennis career alone, she stood out for her unique outfits for matches, including catsuits, denim skirts, and one-legged spats.Williams also collaborated with the late Virgil Abloh in Off-White.

Outside of fashion and tennis, the 23-time singles Grand Slam winner founded a venture capital firm called Serena Ventures, attended the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art from 2000-2003 to study fashion design, and then fashion. built a career in She then launched her brand S by Serena many years later.

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A sponsored athlete since 2003, Williams has collaborated with them on many occasions. Three years ago, Williams envisioned and helped implement a design apprenticeship program known as the Serena Williams Design Crew. This is to bring in designers from the racialized community to help design her latest collection.

Ten designers from New York were selected to help design the Nike range for six months beginning in January 2020. The collection was launched last fall.

Renowned fashion influencer Champagne Rose, who has developed connections with major brands such as Louis Vuitton, Balmain, Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, said of the industry and Williams’ impact: Inclusiveness and equality are very important and I have been a longtime advocate. ”

“Looking back at the fashion industry, it’s been very monocentric and hasn’t done a good job of expanding its range of values. It makes a big contribution.”

The fashion industry has had a notorious rejection of designers from racialized backgrounds. Fewer than 10% of fashion designers at New York Fashion Week are black, according to the prestigious industry group, the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Less than 5% of the association’s members are black.

Racial disparities in the fashion world have been well documented and discussed, but change happens slowly.

“It’s also about relationships and knowledge,” Rose said. “The problem we’ve had for a long time is that we’re mostly reluctant to work with people who don’t look alike, don’t speak alike, don’t sound alike, or come from the same place. is.”

“It is completely illogical. Fashion is universal. there is not.”

“Selena has not only been a guidepost and a role model, but at the same time we have used her influence to provide opportunities. It’s great to see you there.

“We still have a long way to go, but we are taking positive steps,” concludes Rose, who attended both Paris Fashion Week and the Balenciaga fashion event in May.

In her own words, the world-class tennis player said in her interview and release with Vogue, “I didn’t like the word retirement.

“The best word to describe what I am trying to do is probably evolution. I am here to tell you that I am evolving away from tennis and towards other things that are important to me. I’m in.”

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