When Serena Williams announced her retirement (or as Williams prefers, her “evolution”) from tennis earlier this month, it signified the end of an epic era. Williams' accomplishments in her sport earned her the title of the GOAT, and it’s hard to imagine the game, let alone the last two decades of sports overall, without her. The tennis icon may be walking away from the court, but her new free time is also allowing her to fully step into other passions — like fashion.
From braids and beads to catsuits and tutus, it’s impossible to talk about Williams’ legacy without including fashion. Throughout her 27 years of dominating the sport and rocking daring outfits on the court, Williams changed tennis style forever. Although we may no longer be able to bask in the thought, effort, and innovation that Williams puts into her on-court fashion, she’s made it clear that her love affair with fashion is going nowhere. In fact, she’s taking her interest in style to the next level and ensuring that fans can come along for the ride.
Days after competing in what will likely be her last ever professional tennis match — though her older sister Venus is hoping she’ll “evolve back” for a few doubles games here and there — Williams unveiled the new S by Serena collection on the roof of Spring Studios during IMG’s New York Fashion Week Glam Slam (presented by Chase Sapphire) event. The presentation event skipped a traditional runway for something more suited for a tennis legend: a tennis court, embodying Williams’ plans to tackle her next chapter with the same fervor she applied to tennis.
“I've been in fashion for as long as I can remember,” Williams told Unbothered prior to the runway show. “I've been doing Serena Ventures for 10 years, and I've been a mom for five years. So it's nice that I can actually kinda focus on the other things, because I've been focusing on tennis for literally my whole life.”
The latest collection is inspired by Williams' desire to make women feel their greatest, and it also reflects her personal style, which she describes as “tight and right.” The designs in the collection feature sexy silhouettes, surprising cut outs, and sensual ruching. Most importantly, the clothing is as comfortable and wearable as it is stylish.
“I want women to feel confident,” said Williams. “I want them to feel amazing — that's how I feel every day. Sometimes, if you just have that magical outfit, or that magical dress, it just helps you feel better. Then it gets you motivated to finish the rest of your day, and that's exactly what we want to do.”
Williams is never one to shy away from praising her older sister and fellow tennis legend, Venus. ( “I wouldn’t be Serena if not for Venus,” she once said in an emotional interview during the US Open.) It’s clear that Venus’ support for Serena extends beyond the tennis court as the sisters share more than just tennis in common; Venus Williams also has her own clothing line, Eleven by Venus Williams, that focuses on athletic wear. That sartorial savvy has brought the dynamic duo even closer, allowing them to talk shop and trade business secrets.
“Venus has helped me out a lot,” Williams told the crowd at Spring Studios. “She knows how to run a business really well, and she's really been super helpful to me. I actually go to her office all the time, so I get to see a preview of a lot of the stuff that she's doing.”
Creating beautiful and comfortable clothing for women is just one side of Williams’ role at the brand; she’s just as focused on the business of growing and scaling the company. When asked about where she sees the brand in the next decade, William’s sights were set on expansion.
“We're just going to continue to grow our brand,” she revealed. “We're actually working on a grand plan right now, as to where we want to grow now that I have time to focus on it more. Who is our customer? And how do I want to acquire new customers? Those are all kinds of things that we're working on and trying to figure out.”
The S by Serena NYFW Edit is now live and available to shop now.