Abloh, Off-White unite for ‘Queen Collection’

This is one collection that’s fit for a queen.

According to Fashionista, designer Virgil Abloh has teamed up with Italian streetwear brand Off-White and Nike to create a collection of trendy athleticwear specifically with Serena Williams in mind. Aptly named the “Queen Collection,” Fashionista says the selection will include new pieces, as well as limited-edition takes on Abloh standards, offering

“…a dress in black and white for both day and nighttime play, a bomber jacket, a bag, a glittery pair of NikeCourt Flare 2 sneakers and limited-edition styles of Abloh’s previous Nike collaboration The 10, which includes a Nike Air Max 97 and The 10: Nike Blazer Mid SW with gradient-colored soles — a design that leaked online back in April.”

All of these pieces are making their debut at the U.S. Open’s 50th edition tournament in New York at the end of August, says Fashionista, and will range in price from $130 to $900. Despite the price tag, sewn within the heart of each piece comes the spirit of its muse, says Fashionista, something Abloh said he was careful to capture.

What I love about tennis is the gracefulness. It’s an aggressive and powerful game, but it takes touch and finesse,” Abloh said in an statement. “So the dress is feminine, but combines her aggression. It’s partially revealing. It’s asymmetrical. It has a sort of ballerina-esque silhouette to symbolize her grace. It’s not about bells and whistles and tricks. It’s just about it living on the body, and expressing Serena’s spirit with each swing of the racket.”

With a collaborative design process backing up his workmanship, Fashionista says the Italian-sourced materials and attention to detail all play into the collection’s dedication to Williams, even using “a body form specific to Williams’s figure” to create the garments, all of which will “will be available at select Nike and NikeLab retailers, as well as Nike.com.”

 

Advertisements

U.S. Open changes pregnancy leave penalty

After Serena Williams returned to the court of the French Open following her maternity leave for daughter Alexis Olympia, the world-renowned athlete entered the tournament at a ranking of No. 453 — where she was previously ranked at No. 1; but now, Glamour reports that the backlash from the move has caused the U.S. Open to revisit and revise their rules.

According to Glamour, the French Open organization has “now spoken out to announce a change in post-maternity protocol, one that will no longer penalize any female player returning to the sport after pregnancy.” But that’s not all: the U.S. Open is also making similar changes, says Glamour, “creating a special protection on seedings for women who return to the sport post-pregnancy.”

In an interview with the New York TimesGlamour says U.S. Tennis Association (which oversees the U.S. Open) president and chairwoman Katrina Adams not only explained the decision as the “right thing to do,” but also as a move toward achieving social parity.

“We are all about social justice and equality, and this is definitely an instance of equality,” she said. “We think it’s a good message for our current female players and future players: It’s OK to go out and be a woman and become a mother and then come back to your job, and I think that’s a bigger message.”

Also the bigger message: making sure Williams gets her due as one of the best athletes of all time.

“Serena Williams is arguably the greatest player to ever play, with 23 Grand Slam titles,” Adams continued, according to Glamour. “She deserves the respect to be put in that position.”

Serena makes tennis court appearance in catsuit

Tennis phenom and world-class athlete Serena Williams made her return to Grand Slam tennis recently, and she did so in superhero fashion.

According to Reuters, Williams took to the French Open wearing a black catsuit befitting a Marvel superhero — or at least, that’s how she explained her outfit.

“‘I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It’s really fun,” she said, Reuters reports,  referencing the fictional Sub-Saharan African nation which is home to superhero Black Panther in Marvel Comics. ‘I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, queen from Wakanda maybe.'”

Explaining it as her way of being a superhero, Williams did pose a different reasoning for her catsuit: health. After “health concerns over blood clots” after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia in September, Reuters says Williams offered that the catsuit is a practical (and stylish) solution to keeping her blood flowing regularly.

“Yeah, the catsuit, I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months,” she explained. “So it is definitely a little functionality to it. I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep, you know, the blood circulation going.”

Who knew functionality could be so stylish — and superhero-ish?

Williams launches self-titled fashion collection

She’s already at the top of the sports world, and now, she’s coming in hot into the world of fashion.

According to Vogue, tennis superstar and all-around badass Serena Williams has just launched her own “direct-to-consumer fashion collection of sportswear and eveningwear” in which “every piece is under $250.”

Simply called “Serena,” Vogue says the line contains 12 items that “spans underwear, denim, tees, jackets, and an olive green silk crepe slip dress,” though the collection will expand throughout the summer and fall with new releases.

As for Williams’ influence in the line, Vogue says the phenom hand-selected the material for the slip dress to ensure that it was different that others offered on the market.

“The slip dress is so classic, and I wanted to bring it in more of a silk crepe, something that has more texture. You know, usually silk slips are just smooth—which I love—but I wanted to do something different,” she told Vogue. “You know I love to be different.”

And being different is something she is hoping to achieve in another way — by making pieces from the line as affordable and quality as possible, without compromising either.

“We want people to be able to actually look good and not have to overpay for it,” she told Vogue. “That’s what I want to do. I want to make pieces that you look good in, that aren’t outrageously priced.”

Ready to shop the collection? Click here.

Curry becomes only FT female assistant coach in DI men’s basketball

All it takes is one person to begin to blaze a trail for others to follow. And in Division I college basketball, their “first” just arrived.

According to CBS Sports, the University of Maine has recently hired former WNBA guard Edniesha Curry as a full-time assistant coach for their men’s basketball team, becoming the only full-time female assistant coach in Division I men’s basketball.

Prior to earning the assistant coach position, CBS Sports says Curry was working at UMaine as an assistant basketball player development coach for the women’s team between 2015 and 2017, also playing in the WNBA and overseas between 2002 and 2009. In between her new role at UMaine and her last job there, CBS Sports reports that she was “working with the NBA Assistant Coaches Program and as a women’s athletic program manager at Atlanta Classical Academy.”

As for her latest gig, first-year Maine coach Richard Barron said selecting Curry for the role was an “easy choice.”

“She is extremely talented at developing players – especially within the context of defensive and offensive systems,” he said in a release, according to CBS Sports. “Eddie teaches skills that can be utilized with frequency in a game. Eddie is also great at scouting opponents as well as ‘self-scouts’ – breaking down video to find areas of improvement…Our players will be very fortunate to have someone as gifted and enthusiastic as Eddie coaching them.”

Congratulations, Edniesha!

 

Woods works to release activewear line

Call it athleisure, call it activewear, call it whatever you want — but just be sure to call this forthcoming line yours.

According to W magazine, model Jordyn Woods is preparing to release a brand-new activewear line inspired by her new-found love of all things fitness. Revealing her plans at a recent NBA All-Star Game party, she said that the line will likely make its debut “hopefully by summer.”

This new line is not her first foray into the design world; says that the model previously designed for extended-size line Addition Elle, which featured a host of trendy pieces ranging from leggings to lace-up T-shirts.

But when it comes to her new line, what can we expect? If her description of her personal style is any indication, we’re all in luck:

“Comfort is key,” she said, according to W. “You have to find what works for your body type. For my body type, it’s either a tight top and loose bottoms or a loose top and tight bottoms, but I try to accentuate the things that I like about my body.”

Where do we sign up for this, Jordyn?

 

History-making U.S. Olympic speedskater advances in Winter Games

The first black woman on the U.S. Olympic speedskating team is skating her way into success.

According to HuffPost, Maame Biney advanced in “the 500-meter short-track event with a veteran-like performance in the first round at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.” Finishing second in her debut heat with a time of 43.665 seconds, HuffPost reports that Biney was able to secure her spot while fending off third-place finisher Kim Alang.

Biney is set to also compete in the 1,500-meter skate, so with several competitions under her belt and headed her way, she told HuffPost that for her, this experience is all about having fun.

“I don’t really feel pressure to be the first to get a medal or anything like that,” she said. “I just want to go out there, do my best and have fun, and experience the Olympics. That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to win, obviously, but also have fun.”

First black woman earns spot on U.S. long-track skating team

Being the first in anything is quite an accomplishment — but being the first in your trade when you only began practicing four months earlier is in a whole other realm of amazing.

Take Erin Jackson, for example: not only did HuffPost report that the 25-year-old long-track speed skater become the first black woman to make the U.S. long-track skating team, she also did so a mere four months after taking up the sport. Qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics, HuffPost says Jackson came in third place in trials for the “500-meter race behind two former Olympians, Brittany Bowe and Heather Bergsma,” finishing her first run in 39.22 seconds and her second in 39.04 seconds.

Becoming the third black athlete ever to make the U.S. Olympic speedskating team and the first black woman to qualify for the long-track competition, HuffPost says Jackson was surprised at her own feat.

“I really wasn’t expecting any of this, just coming in as a newbie, just trying to do the best I can,” she said. “I still don’t even know.”

Know it, Erin — you killed it!

Solo seeks presidency of U.S. Soccer

She’s a World Cup winner and an Olympic champion, and now, former U.S. Soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to add another item to her resume: president.

According to ABC News, Solo took to Facebook to announce her candidacy for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, following a recent announcement by current president Sunil Gulati of his decision to not pursue a fourth term. While the former goalie was suspended from the U.S. Women’s National team following comments about their World Cup semifinal opponents, ABC reports that Solo says she has exactly what it takes to lead the federation:

“I know exactly what U.S. Soccer needs to do, I know exactly how to do it, and I possess the fortitude to get it done,” she wrote. “I have always been willing to sacrifice for what I believe in and I believe there is no greater sacrifice then fighting for equal opportunity, integrity and honesty, especially in an organization like the USSF that could give so much more to our communities across the nation.”

So, what’s her campaign platform? ABC says Solo not only wants to foster a culture of winning and transparency within the federation, she also wants to “push for equal pay for the women’s national team and all women within U.S. Soccer” and “address the ‘pay-to-play’ model and make soccer accessible to all.”

Solo isn’t the only female running for the position, however, with ABC reporting that Soccer United Marketing President Kathy Carter also threw her hat in the ring for the February election.

Murray serves up essay on gender equality

Having an ally in the fight for gender equality is always a plus. And thanks to tennis star Andy Murray, female athletes in tennis and beyond are getting yet another advocate for securing level playing field — or court.

According to HuffPost, Murray penned an essay for BBC Magazine on “the importance of gender equality in tennis and in all sports,” a topic he learned much about after hiring Amelie Mauresmo, a former professional tennis player who he hired as a coach between 2014 and 2016. It was in this experience, HuffPost sayswhere Murray witnessed firsthand the sexism that plagued her every day, and it was here where he learned he could no longer keep silent on this issue.

Commenting on the tenacity of male and female tennis players, Murray offered that there is no difference between athletes of different genders.

“People often underestimate the amount of work that it takes to become a top tennis player,” he wrote. “And that work ethic is the same whether you are a man or a woman…Anyone who has spent any time with any of the top women will know that they make those same sacrifices and are as determined and committed to winning as any of the top men on the tour.”

Murray concluded his essay by asserting his hope for the future, says HuffPost, offering that a “level playing field” may be coming soon. We hope he’s correct!

To read his essay in full, click here.