Legendary athlete-turned-entrepreneur Serena Williams is a force both on and off the court. She’s made tennis history, launched her own fleet of businesses that includes inclusive clothing brand S by Serena and the Serena Williams Design Crew, and created an apprenticeship program with Nike to diversify the brand’s talent pool and champion the next generation.
As part of the latter, 10 talented New York City–based designers have been tasked with setting new trends in athleisure, not following them, for the latest SWDC collection.
“When I step on the court, I definitely want to stand out,” Williams said about the premise of the program’s offering. “I like to be different. I just like taking a chance when it comes to design.” Drawing inspiration for the collection with the sportswear giant from ’90s trends, the SWDC gave the pieces a fresh feel for 2021 that is perfectly aligned with Williams herself. “I love bold colors and a print,” the renowned athlete relays to BAZAAR.com over Zoom. “I didn’t even tell the designers this, we were just on so much of the same wavelength that they felt the same way, and it definitely gives you that nostalgic feel.”
Of course, the SWDC team made sure to incorporate more personal touches in the lineup as well, like West African kente cloth references and even surprising the mom of one with the initials of her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., woven into the motifs. “[The collection] really speaks to me, my background, and where I’m from,” Williams divulges. “It meant a lot to me that we were able to bring some African culture into these designs.”
In the lineup, shoppers will find an extensive activewear offering that includes everything from mesh coveralls to biker shorts and matching bras, as well as signature Nike staples with embellished gold updates. Get a feel for the collection now before it officially drops online August 20.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US.