Last week, the day Fashion Week kicked off in New York, one of its biggest celebs had already happened: Serena Williams chatted onstage with Lindsay Peoples, the editor-in-chief of The Cut, about his recent evolution away from tennis and his involvement. with the Nike design team. “One of the first meetings I had with Nike, I was like, ‘I just want to look good, and I don’t care if it’s not functional,'” Williams said with a laugh. She and Nike have worked together over the years to create many pieces, from the famous denim skirt she wore in 2004 to the dazzling look she wore for her final match at the US Open. What’s next for Williams?
“I’m at a place where I have a few questions as well,” she said. “Right now, I’m taking everything day to day.”
We know that Williams is working with Nike to empower the next generation of black and Latino designers in New York. To get started, Peoples also spoke with stylist and designer Aleali May, stylist Jessica Willis, track and field athlete Vashti Cunningham and Who Decides War’s Ev Bravado and Tela D’Amore about the future of fashion.
On the power of dressing up on the pitch: “I realized pretty early on the power of fashion when people kept writing about my outfit. And I was like, Wait, what about my game? I really love fashion; In fact, I went to fashion school. I really like being out there and dressing like my personality: I’m loud and excited and intense on the pitch and amazing, and I feel like I should dress that part. Also, if you look good, you feel good. Sometimes, if I’m feeling bad, I turn to fashion. I go ahead and put on something nice to make me feel better.
On his style transitions: “Style is really about evolving. I’m still super influenced by pop culture but also keep classic silhouettes. Some seasons, I love patterns; other seasons I like solids.
On this famous denim skirt: “I was like, ‘I want to wear a denim skirt on the pitch. No one has worn a denim skirt yet. But how do you make it functional? Nike made it functional. And even with the last outfit I wore , I would challenge Nike with crazy things. I mean, how are you going to wear the rhinestones on the pitch? It was really about shining like a diamond there. They got it.
On what she does next: “I’ve been investing for nine years, so I plan to be stronger in this space. When I look at women in business, I like women who dress to show their personality, so I encourage my team to be beautiful, regardless of their personality. I want them to own that and bring fashion into it. So when people see our team at Serena Ventures, they not only see that they’re really good at what they do, but do it loudly and shamelessly. And that’s what I want to bring to the business world: you can still look good and be taken seriously.”