The only real competitor for Serena Williams over the years has been none other than herself. She created an identity for herself, not only as a legend of the sport but also as a fashion icon. She excelled in whatever field she took to. Becoming a mother of two hasn’t pegged her back from being fashionable, and it was just a matter of time before the sartorial world recognized her.
The yearning that the former world no.1 had for fashion is palpable from the fact that she has a degree in that field. Her own line of fashion, ‘S by Serena’ and the endorsement deals that she has signed over the years have gone on to consolidate her status as a fashion enthusiast. All this has culminated in the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) bestowing the honor of a ‘fashion icon’ on her.
Right from the beginning of her career, the 23-time Grand Slam champion oozed confidence with her presence and the outfits she wore on the court. It was not only a vocal signifier of Serena’s personality but also wooed more people towards watching the sport. With her sister, Venus Williams, she set new trends in the sport, thereby flaunting the African-American culture of theirs.
On becoming the only athlete to be honored with the award, Serena has stated, “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve used fashion as an outlet to express myself…… “ She has said that it was so much fun learning her style and letting her evolve as her life has progressed. The champion added, “…..but I’ve always held one thing true-fashion is for everyone, no matter your size, race, or income.”
Serena Williams set her style amid constant criticism
Tennis has been a pretty conservative sport, as far as style is concerned, and was considered to be very much a gentlemen’s sport. These were due to white supremacy which was latent and justified the exclusion of someone who preferred to stand beyond these traits. Serena was someone who trashed all these notions and that too, in some style. Simply put, she wouldn’t let her be anything but herself.
It all began when Serena took to the WTA tour in her beads and braids, which became more political and deliberate as the years passed. If it was only about expressing joy through her dressing, to begin with, she gradually went on to become a woman who had the profile to render voice to injustice and inequality.
Her attire made the headlines as much as her game did. The black catsuit that she wore at the French Open in 2018, was designed to cope with potential blood clots owing to childbirth, which the officials termed as a violation of dress code. Serena responded with panache by wearing a one-sleeve tutu at the US Open for those who felt that the previous look wasn’t “feminine” enough.
Fashion and tennis went hand-in-hand with Serena Williams from the start, and if her play was “fearless”, her wardrobe played its part in “erasing boundaries”. It got to a point where discovering what she was wearing was an event in itself. Over the years, Serena has captured the imagination with her outfits, and it is only fitting that people would be excited to see what she comes up with for D-day when she is honored.