Venus Williams has a new gig.
The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist will represent K-Swiss, the Los Angeles-based tennis brand, and appear in a new global brand campaign, “Club K-Swiss,” where she will be the face of the brand.
In addition to becoming a brand ambassador, Williams helped codesign a limited-edition footwear and apparel collection with K-Swiss and her fashion-forward activewear line and lifestyle brand, EleVen by Venus Williams.
The 12-piece capsule collection will launch today on kswiss.com. It includes a school pride varsity sweater for $78, a plaid baby T-shirt for $72, a razor tank for $82, a racing-stripe legging for $110, a pep-rally hoodie for $128, a pep-rally jogger for $118 and the MVP varsity jacket for $298. It also has a K-Swiss Classic 66x EleVen by Venus Williams lifestyle shoe for $120.
The 40-year-old Williams, who is ranked number 78 by the Women’s Tennis Association, launched EleVen by Venus Williams in 2007, which she always wears to compete.
Asked why she wanted to team up with K-Swiss, Williams told WWD, “K-Swiss is such an iconic brand both on and off the court, and I saw a lot of synergy with my own lifestyle brand, EleVen by Venus Williams. Both brands celebrate boldness, especially of women, and I was excited to collaborate on what turned out to be a really special, unique and exciting collection. It’s different from anything else out there right now. I think people will love it.”
She said she enjoyed creating styles that represented EleVen’s values of excellence and personal betterment and K-Swiss’ classic lifestyle vibe.
“We wanted this to be a marriage between the two brand styles, so we took classic looks but used surprising design elements to make them eye-catching. We added in a beautiful mint green amongst traditional blues and grey or experimented with unique plaid patterns to make sure it was a combination of both brands,” she explained.
“Of course the look of the pieces is important, but they also needed to be functional and be able to support the highest level of performance,” continued Williams. She said one of her favorite styles was the plaid cropped short-sleeved T-shirt because it’s made from Repreve fabric, a recycled performance fiber. About seven recycled bottles are used in every plaid cropped short-sleeved T-shirt.
Williams said she plans to wear the K-Swiss x EleVen by Venus Williams while competing in tennis tournaments. “I’m already wearing the K-Swiss x EleVen by Venus Williams capsule collection on the court during training, and I can attest to the fact that it is a total game-changer. Like my other EleVen collections, this one was designed for high-level performance so I trust that it will be able to keep up with every forehand, backhand, volley, cross-court sprint — you name it, and I know any EleVen outfit can handle it,” she said. “These pieces are as functional as they are fashionable and when I compete, I want to look and feel my best. I definitely feel more confident when I wear our designs, and this K-Swiss x EleVen by Venus Williams collection is no exception.”
Williams added that she’s always been a K-Swiss footwear fan and has worn them for years on and off the court, including while walking her dog, Harry. “I love items like this that are so multifunctional without compromising on style, and that’s one of the reasons I’m proud of this collection,” she said.
Gabriella Gomez, global marketing director at K-Swiss, said, “As an athlete and entrepreneur her entire career, Venus Williams is a natural partner for K-Swiss. Venus is a true visionary, but she doesn’t stop at the creative work, she’s actively involved in every other element of business as well. Together we are curating the concept of ‘tennis as a lifestyle,’ and the collections we are building on are designed for ambitious women with an ath-leisure twist.”
K-Swiss has had ambassadors before, but never in the same capacity as Williams. K-Swiss and Williams will do more capsules together in 2021.
The Club K-Swiss campaign will be digital- and social-focused.
Asked how she’s been spending her time during the pandemic, Williams said she’s been able to focus on her lifestyle brand, as well as her design company, V Starr.
“I love being able to flex my creative side which is why I had so much fun designing this collection with K-Swiss,” she said. In addition to keeping up with her training, she integrated what she called #CoachVenus workouts into her schedule, which she would host on Instagram Live to help keep other people active during lockdown.
“It was such a fun way to mix up my typical schedule, and we always had surprise co-hosts dropping in like Serena [Williams], Amy Schumer, Naomi Campbell, Ashley Graham, Rob Gronkowski and so many more,” said Williams. She said she also launched an EleVen by Venus Williams x Credo Beauty clean SPF line, which she called essential while training or hosting #CoachVenus workouts outside in the Florida sun every day.
In addition, Williams is chief brand officer for Asutra, a natural and organic products company, which recently launched magnesium products that are her go-to when she’s sore and needs quick muscle recovery. She said she also has launches in the wellness and beauty space happening over the next few weeks.