We all know Venus Williams for her phenomenal, boundary-breaking career as a tennis star. She’s been a constant example of Black excellence since she burst on the tennis scene in the early 1990s, alongside her sister Serena Williams.
It’s no surprise then that in addition to being a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court, she’s brought her commitment to greatness to the fashion world. Launching activewear brand EleVen in 2007, Williams has delivered high-quality fitness and tennis gear to women who are all about being fierce and fabulous.
The latest launch, dubbed ‘Bonita’ features fun, playful looks perfect for on and off-court style.
Williams talked to ESSENCE about the new collection, what she’s learned from running her own brand and who the EleVen woman is.
Who are the women that evoke the spirit of EleVen?
“I design for bold women – the EleVen girl is confident above all else. She marches to the beat of her own drum and is always ready to take on the next challenge, but also knows how to have fun along the way. I want all my pieces to empower women on their journey – life can be tough so you gotta be tougher.”
It’s no secret that what we wear can affect our moods. How do you want women to feel when they wear EleVen?
“One of the reasons I started EleVen was because I was having a tough time finding something that merged fashion and function in the activewear space. As a fashion designer, I knew what I wanted my line to look like. As an athlete, I knew what I wanted my line to feel like. When you’re wearing something, you want it to perform and perform with you. Whether you’re sprinting or doing a vinyasa flow, you can’t be distracted by your clothing – it’s gotta move.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from running your own fashion brand?
“Fit is always a work in progress. We create new SKU’s all the time and I test-drive each piece to be sure that it’s an 11/10. Also, picking a color is impossible. For me, it’s the hardest part of the design process because you always want to be doing something different and unexpected than you did the last season. I’m on a never-ending hunt for the next best color.”
What are the pieces from your line that you can’t live without?
“This is always the hardest question because I love it all haha! There’s this fabulous jacket and matching skirt in Bonita’s butterfly print. It’s the cutest outfit and I really feel like my EleVen girl is going to add to cart. There’s also the Love Tank that has the perfect fit and comes with UPF 50 so it shields you from UV rays. It’s the perfect piece for summer – you can wear for all your outdoor workouts!”
Are you looking for your new favorite activewear pieces? Shop the brand new ‘Bonita’ collection below!