Tennis superstar Serena Williams has already won 23 Grand Slam singles titles — the most by any player ever in the modern era. And now, the living legend is turning her considerable skills and influence to a new line of sports athleisure wear focused on lifting up and supporting underrepresented designers of color.
CNN’s Chauncey Alcorn reported that “Williams is pairing up with Nike to try to bring more people of color into the world of fashion design.”
According to Alcorn, on Tuesday, Aug. 17, “the 39-year-old tennis legend joined Nike in unveiling a collection of women’s athleisure wear and accessories, created by a group of 10 up-and-coming designers known as the Serena Williams Design Crew, or SWDC.”
The designers were all selected by Williams and Nike over the last two years and asked to participate in the company’s “diversity in design” apprenticeship program, which “seeks to elevate designers of color who are underrepresented in the fashion design world.”
In a statement, Nike said, “every design decision, down to the smallest details, was made with Serena in mind.”
In an interview with CNN, Williams said that she partnered with Nike to help promote diversity within the fashion design industry.
“I want people from all walks of life to have the opportunity to be in the room,” she said. “There’s so much incredible talent out there. I hope the next generation sees this program and is inspired to get involved.”
Alcorn reported that “Black Americans make up just 6.3% of U.S. apparel makers, according to a 2021 Zippia industry analysis.”
He added that “nearly 60% of U.S. fashion designers are White,” with Latinx and Asian Americans comprising just 15% and 13%, respectively, of the industry.
According to Alcorn, “Nike VP of Global Diversity & Inclusion Jarvis Sam says the Serena Williams Design Crew is a key part of the company’s commitment to bringing diverse perspectives into the design community.”
The new line of SWDC clothing, which was inspired equally by Williams and “1990s nostalgia,” includes a mix of sports gear, streetwear and accessories. The price tag for the products ranges from $20 to $230, and everything will go on sale starting Sept. 1.