Serena Williams talks to us about why she doesn't like the term "plus size"—and how she's completely renaming it for her clothing line
We’re pretty sure there’s nothing Serena Williams can’t do. She’s constantly amazing us whether she’s winning the Australian Open while pregnant, shutting down a sexist reporter, or opening up about the challenges of motherhood. Now, Williams is giving us even more reasons to love her. She just launched the September/October collection for her fashion line, Serena. And it’s filled with endlessly versatile, affordable, and wearable pieces—all of which are made in America—that you’ll want to add to your closet ASAP.
The new Serena collection includes dresses, tops, tees, joggers, and jackets that inspire confidence and make you feel fantastic. Oh, and the denim is to die for. They’re the kind of pieces that you can mix, match, layer, and wear forever. But Williams’s interest in fashion goes beyond design and fit. She’s passionate about creating pieces that make women feel comfortable in their own skin, and she believes fashion is a powerful tool in boosting confidence.
We spoke with Williams about her new collection, why she doesn’t like the term “plus size,” and how she’s helping women #BeSeenBeHeard through empowering fashion.
HelloGiggles (HG): What can shoppers expect from your new Serena collection?
Serena Williams (SW): High-quality pieces. We use really, really high-end fabrics; we didn’t cut corners there. Some of our margins are like, 15%, which is not good for me. But I want the collection to be high quality with great fabrics and great feels. That is, at the same time, in a price range that’s reasonable and not totally outrageous.
HG: Who did you have in mind when you made these pieces?
SW: We design for people who want to believe in themselves. People that do believe in themselves. People that want to go to the office and look great. People that feel like, You know what? I need to put something on and pizzazz my look up. We don’t design for a particular person that looks a certain way; we want a particular person that looks a certain way on the inside. I feel like that reaches more people, and it makes them feel better as well.
HG: You said something in a recent Serena brand video: “Fashion is about being unapologetic.”
SW: It is. It’s about being unapologetic and being yourself. I’m not going to apologize for what I wear, or how I look when I wear it. I want to wear it, I want to look good, and I want to make a statement. That’s what we’re going for.
HG: A lot of brands are making inclusive sizing a priority. Do you have any plans to expand your size range at some point?
SW: Today, we’re launching a couple tops—our “Be Greater” tee and the “S” NYC tee, which are both special for the U.S. Open. We’re launching what will be called “Serena Great,” because I don’t like the word “plus.” We have the “G.O.A.T.” collection, and now we’re launching the “Great” collection. The “Great” is our plus size. It’s been in the works for forever and we want to roll it out a little bit at a time. We want to get rid of the word “plus” and we want it to be “great.” So our “great” comes out this fall, just in time for the holidays.
HG: What pieces in the collection do you find are most versatile for day-to-day life as a new mom?
SW: I like the jeans a lot. For me, they’re versatile, because first of all, they’re high-waisted. Being a mom, I need to wear only high waists now. They’re really light fabric and they have a great feel to them. They fit me, they fit girls that are a size 2, and they fit girls that are curvy. I can walk around in them all day, 24-hours. It’s like that old classic worker’s jean that’s light and comfortable for the whole day.
The Palm Beach Slip Dress is another one of my favorite ones. Listen, I have to be honest with you. I didn’t love it at first. We used a crepe silk material; we didn’t use the average silk fabric, so there’s texture to it. But then I put it on and I literally wore it for three days. [laughs] It’s the best. It’s my favorite piece in the collection.
HG: What reactions do you love hearing from women who wear your clothes?
SW: I just love how they feel confident in them. We always say, “Post a picture and I’ll repost it,” because we want people to feel confident. To #BeSeenBeHeard. It’s time that women are seen and women are heard. And not just in life, but in the business world and everywhere. That’s what we’re trying to do.
I love when people post pictures and they have their poses together, because they feel confident. When you asked me, Who do we design for? We design for the woman who either is confident, or wants to be confident and wants to believe in herself.