Serena’s style changed the game in fashion and business

Serena’s style changed the game in fashion and business

Tennis – US Open – Flushing Meadows, New York, USA – September 2, 2022 Serena Williams before her third round match against Australia’s Agla Tomljanovic REUTERS/Mike Segar

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – From glossy magazine covers to generation-defining styles on the court, Serena Williams bowed out at the US Open on Friday after rewriting the playbook for math while building an empire of her own.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner has chosen the women’s fashion bible, Vogue, to declare that she is “evolving away from tennis,” before taking to the court in stunning Nike sneakers at this week’s US Open under the watchful eyes of the magazine. Old Lady, Anna Wintour.

The fiercely contested Queens gave a valiant performance in what is widely expected to be her final tournament, losing in the third round 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-1 to Agla Tomljanovic with her legacy as an established cultural icon. in the place.

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“Style and sport have always been closely intertwined, but no athlete has embraced the power of fashion like Serena Williams,” Katie Appel, executive editor of Footwear News, told Reuters.

“She never shy away from looks that cross the line, on or off the field, and always knows how to send a message, even if it’s controversial.”

She competed in a famous Flushing Meadows in a denim skirt in 2004 and feathered at Roland-Garros in 2018, when she wore a black jumpsuit to keep the circulation going after having blood clots in the days after giving birth.

After organizers said they would ban the suit from clay courts, Williams supporters shouted. “When it comes to fashion, you don’t want to be a repeat offender,” Williams joked to The Associated Press.

The moment was an instant classic and showed that it can harness fashion to disrupt the status quo, said Katie Liebel, a gender equality researcher in sports and assistant professor at the University of Guelph.

“Sexism has been so pervasive when it comes to women’s clothing…and expectations about what female athletes should look like have been particularly overwhelmed,” she said.

“Serena came in and she pushed against all of this. I think she really rethought the standards of uniforms for women in tennis.”

Serena and her sister Venus brought black style to the overwhelmingly white sport when they first took to the court as pros in the ’90s, and faced criticism for wearing beaded braids in competition.

Williams wore this style when she won her Grand Slam Opening in New York. Pictures of her daughter Olympia in matching braids in the stands at Flushing Meadows this year were an instant sensation.

“From the moment Serena and her sister Venus stepped onto the court with their signature braids… they’ve been role models for black women and aspiring athletes everywhere,” Abel said.


Williams’ friendship with the late Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh resulted in one of her most memorable sets at the US Open, the ballerina-inspired Nike set in 2018, when she came bafflingly close to winning her number-equaled 24th major title. Standard, but it was short. the last.

While her US Open career is winding down, her work in New York is just getting started, with a “Glam Slam” preview of the new look from her S by Serena brand planned for September 12 in conjunction with New York Fashion Week.

Her retirement from competitive sports is expected to have little or no impact on her brand value – Nike plans to continue its partnership with the 40-year-old. Read more

“Williams may have retired from tennis, but I think her influence on fashion is just beginning,” W magazine said. “Without her grueling training schedule, I think she would have had more time and energy to focus on this category.” Fashion Director Nora Melch.

Serena, a bona fide fashion mogul off the court, was named to the board of shopping app Poshmark in 2019, opening her wardrobe along with pieces from Olympia to customers in the fashion marketplace.

Manish Chandra, founder and CEO of Poshmark, said Williams has inspired many other female entrepreneurs to sell the app through her unique voice and perspective.

“As a champion in women’s empowerment, Serena has always led with love and helped ensure that the Bushmark community is front and center in everything we do,” Chandra told Reuters.

“Her accomplishments and vision across the worlds of business, fashion and entrepreneurship made her a perfect fit for our board of directors… She leads with humility, kindness and authenticity.”

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Additional reporting by Aimee Tenry in New York and Dhruv Mongal in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Rory Carroll in New York. Editing by William Mallard

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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