Serena Williams and Nike are launching their Design Crew collection created by 10 apprentice designers next month.
The tennis ace has teamed up with the sportswear brand to champion rising talent in New York, with seven of the budding designers now employed by Nike after designing pieces for the ’90s streetwear-inspired line.
Diversity was at the heart of the project.
The 39-year-old sports legend told WWD: “I wanted to see more people who looked like me.
“It started with a conversation of Nike wanting to invest in the power of people, and embrace that diversity fosters creativity … I was excited to be a part of that.”
The designers were scouted from colleges and stores in Harlem’s Fashion Row.
Serena added: “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.”
On why Serena was the perfect person for the job, Jarvis Sam, vice president, global diversity and inclusion at Nike, commented: “She actually has design education herself studying at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in the early 2000s, having her own d-to-c brand S by Serena and partnerships with the Home Shopping Network. She’s seen firsthand the design space and understands the need for representation not just to chase a number but to build tangible impact.
“The goal was to develop an initiative that could bring together amazing talent, primarily from underrepresented populations to develop a Serena-inspired collection, and to leverage this as an opportunity for our own teams to benefit from the great impact of this talent coming in.”
The Nike x Serena Williams Design Crew initiative was two years in the making and will finally launch on September 1.
The collection includes striking footwear, apparel, and accessories in a number of bold patterns.
Main Image: Nike