Tennis player Serena Williams wears many hats, including that of most decorated female player in her sport, wife, mom and businesswoman. In addition, she is a fashionista, whose personal clothes closet is as big as a New York City apartment.
The Compton native posted a clip of her walk-in closet and to some, it looked like a small department store. The space had each item neatly arranged by category, Williams had drawers filled with garments, perfectly placed shoes and handbags, racks of shirts and couture dresses and a section for her trousers.
One person on social media even commented that her closet looked like “a whole apartment.”
A section was dedicated to her new collection, the “Serena Williams Design Crew.”
The Serena Williams Design Crew
The Serena Williams Design Crew collection is a joint venture she has with Nike. The brand has been sponsoring her athletic career since 2003 and in 2019 took the chance on her pilot idea to start a design apprenticeship program that would provide opportunities for people of color looking to start a career in design.
The first 10 cohorts from the Nike and Serena Williams Apprenticeship Program worked on her latest collection.
Serious About Fashion
In a 2022 Forbes magazine article, Josh Wilson shows how fashion is not just a luxury but also a socio-economic enterprise for Williams, who was able to capitalize on her flashy style, normalize her unapologetic Blackness and trend set along the way.
“Williams has always been a trendsetter and has paved the way for many through her resilience in mastering and excelling in a previously predominantly white country club sport,” Wilson wrote. “Throughout her tennis career alone she has stood out with unique outfits for her matches including catsuits, denim skirts, one-legged spats, and more.”
The tennis icon started her career by enrolling in the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to study fashion design from 2000-2003. She collaborated with a number of designers for all of the various fashion lines she has been a part of, including her brand S by Serena. The most notable is the late Virgil Abloh, a designer who was founder and CEO of Off-White.
Fashion Is a Part of A Larger Enterprise
The Olympian has an estimated net worth between $250 million and $270 million, which is made up of her $41.3 million endorsement deals and $94.8 million in career prize money from winning over 98 tournaments, a dollar figure double the amount any other female athlete of any sport has made.
She has been receiving endorsement deals since inking her $13 million deal with Puma at the start of her career. She has also worked with brands such as Delta Air Lines Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“The thing about Serena is she’s going to transcend sport,” said Tanya Hvizdak, the vice president of global women’s sports marketing at Nike. “She’s been able to show it’s beyond performance. Obviously, that’s provided her a platform, but her engagement in so many different other aspects and showing the dimensions of herself, whether it’s as a mother or a champion of diverse designers or other aspects, will be her legacy.”
Forbes also notes that Williams has invested in over 60 startup companies like Karat, a firm that aims to help more Black software engineers get hired, and has joined many other celebrities in becoming a venture capitalist. In 2022, Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm, raised an inaugural fund of $111 million.
She has shares in the ownership of the NFL Miami Dolphins team and is an accomplished children’s book author.
Now, as she is approaching retirement, an announcement she made with Vogue, making major deals, investing in smart companies, and digging deeper into fashion are her newest career goals.