Earlier this year in February, I published an article entitled “My Tennis Fashion Thoughts.” I discussed the collaborative opportunities that popular designers have within the professional tennis industry, and how such collaborations between players and tennis brands would present a means for players to further express their personalities on the court. Since then, this year has pleasantly surprised me with a number of unexpected collaborations between tennis brands and fashion brands/ designers.
It is evident that this year tennis has shifted to becoming a sport of trends and style. It has drawn attention not just from tennis fans, but from anyone who enjoys fashion and the latest style trends. The success and attention from this year’s collaborations have the potential to propel future ideas and collaborations into motion, forever impacting professional tennis and the tennis culture. Such collaborations would bring more attention and popularity to the game, making it more mainstream and relatable.
In no particular order, here are this year’s top fashion collaborations in the tennis industry.
Adidas x Palace
Created in 2010, Palace has become one of the most sought-after independent British skateboard brands of modern skate culture, and it is now catching fire in the fashion world. Artists such as A$AP Rocky, Jay-Z, and Drake have all been seen wearing Palace. Branching off in to the sports industry, Palace collaborated with Adidas to create a line for the 2018 Wimbledon championships.
The collection combines ‘adidas’ tennis player-approved sports technology with Palace’s signature street-ready styles. Featuring a prominent Adidas x Palace logo, it ranges from immensely collectable tennis accessories, such as terry towel visors and wristbands, to the classic staples in the sport like tennis dresses and T-shirts.
Wilson x Supreme
Founded by James Jebbia, Supreme is an iconic streetwear label that has become known around the world by skaters, artists, and collectors. Supreme is also known for its extensive collaborations with top names like Nike, Vans, The North Face, Comme des Garçons, and now- one of the most popular names in tennis- Wilson.
By pairing up with Wilson to release a can of tennis balls, Supreme surprised the skate and fashion industry by doing an uncommon collaboration with actual sports equipment. I actually have a can, and it looks adorable sitting on the TV stand in my living room.
Wilson x Bape
My favorite collaboration yet. A popular Japanese clothing brand founded in 1993, the brand specializes in men’s and women’s lifestyle and contemporary street-wear. The Wilson Tennis and BAPE collaboration includes a camo racquet and a custom co-branded tennis ball.
Lacoste x Supreme
We must not forget that Lacoste was actually created by a French professional tennis player, Jean Rene Lacoste. Winning seven Grand Slam championships in the 20s and 30s, Jean was nicknamed the “crocodile” because of his on-court style of play. Earlier this year, Lacoste and Supreme partnered up with a co-branded collection of ’90s-inspired gear like velour polos, nylon tracksuits, and one particularly standout varsity jacket. The collection also features sweats, bags, an array of hats, and even more track jackets and pants.
NikeCourt x OffWhite
In potentially one of the greatest collaborations in professional tennis attire ever, this performance tennis line was designed by mogul designer Virgil Abloh of Off White, and features the performance tennis shoes NikeCourt Flare 2 and limited editions of Nike Air Max 97. The line also includes a dress for both day and nighttime play symbolizing that of a ballerina (Serena loves ballet), a bomber jacket, and a tennis bag.
Wilson x Forever 21
By doing something almost unheard of in the sports equipment industry, Wilson may have won the general population of trendy clothing bargain consumers with this collaboration. In summer 2018, Wilson paired up with a hugely popular fast fashion retailer, Forever 21, and launched a large affordable clothing line featuring Wilson embroidered sweaters, tennis skirts and the likes all under $65.
Individual notable player Collaborations:
Novak x Lacoste
Novak Djokovic pairs up with Lacoste in his new line sporting the “values of sporting elegance, tenacity and fair play.”
Uniqlo x Federer
Potentially causing the most drama of the year was Federer parting ways with Nike and signing a hefty deal with a Japanese casual wear designer, Uniqlo.