Serena Williams, our July issue cover star, is launching her own clothing line. The label - titled simply, Serena - landed today and is available to shop exclusively on her own website, serenawilliams.com.
Having previously partnered with sports giant Nike and American retailer HSN (Home Shopping Network) on design collaborations, Williams says that this new independent project allows her to be truly creative - with no limits.
"I’ve done things for HSN but I’ve always been limited, with the customer and with the fabric selection; [there were] things I couldn’t do," she told WWD. "They gave me so much knowledge, though, and so much practice and so much training. And with Nike, obviously there are so many things I can’t do... I’ve never been fully creative, so that’s what this is."
As is perhaps to be expected, the range - which has been two years in the making - includes a selection of athleisure pieces, alongside "practical" daywear including denim, blazers and dresses, ranging in price from $35 (about £26) to $250 (£188). Select pieces also feature motivational messaging around self-love and confidence - "I am beautiful. I am strong" - which she says act as a "friendly reminder" in case you happen to be having a tough day.
“It’s [for] a practical woman; they don’t want to spend $3,000 on something, that just doesn’t make sense,” Williams said of her customer. “Our prices are practical, our fabrics are practical, but [the customer] is also a smart woman, they’re a smart girl. These are high-end quality fabrics and high-end quality feels, and you don’t have to pay over price for it.”
The 36-year-old, who welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia in September, previously spent two years studying at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, giving her more confidence in her design abilities.
“This is what I studied," she explained. "So I was like, ‘I really want to be able to start doing what I want, how I want it, and letting people see my vision in fashion, how I want it to be seen."
The launch of Serena coincides with Williams playing in her first major tennis tournament following her maternity leave; she beat Czech opponent Kristyna Pliskova to sail through the first round of the French Open yesterday - sharing an empowering message for new mothers as she did so.
Serena Williams stars in the July issue of Harper's Bazaar - out 31 May.