Fast fashion has a smashing new trend: tennis apparel. In August, Japanese fast fashion retailer Uniqlo unveiled its collection with tennis star Novak Djokovic, currently rated number one in the world. Not to be outdone, Swedish fast fashion retailer H&M today announced its entry into the tennis market as well through a partnership with tennis star Tomas Berdych, ranked sixth in the world.
Now, lest you think that Uniqlo scored the better deal with the number one-ranked, Djokovic, I will remind you that Berdych’s star is definitely rising fast. In 2010, he was the finalist at Wimbledon, beating out both Djokovic and Roger Federer, and just this week advanced to the second round of the Australian Open. (Well played, H&M.)
Berdych, 27, will work closely with the design team on the collection, as well as serving as the brand ambassador for the line, wearing H&M collections both on the court and off. The company has not said when the line is set to launch and in how many doors, but H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in a press release that the collection will launch worldwide.
“I am very excited about this partnership,” said Berdych. “This is H&M’s first foray into tennis and it is very flattering for me to be their first ambassador. H&M is young, cool and easy, everything I think clothing should be. I love fashion, and it’s great to now have H&M to help me develop my tennis and off-court apparel. I’m sure we will do great things together.”
Endorsements of tennis stars are not new, but what is new is the excitement from fashion and beauty brands hoping to cash in on tennis players’ particular brand of sporty cool. Venus and Serena Williams have been serving up their signature brand of style in the apparel and beauty industry for some time now. Serena Williams has done successful collaborations with nail polish line OPI and sis Venus has been rocking her own tennis wear line, Eleven by Venus, on the courts. And Uniqlo creative director Naoki Takizawa, formerly head designer at Issey Miyake, who partnered with Djokovic on the Uniqlo collection worked to marry both high performance fabrics and more fashion-friendly fits for the 10-piece collection which launched this past summer.
Brands are not the only ones to see the value in promoting the crossover between the tennis court and fashion, as big daddy client management firm IMG — also the sponsor of New York Fashion Week — not so coincidentally happens to rep both Berdych and Djokovic, as well as Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Li Na. IMG also is involved with several of the world’s top tennis tournaments, including Wimbledon, the Australian Open and many more.
There’s no word on what the new H&M line will include and if it will include women’s styles as well, but we’re guessing that with big fashion deals on the table for these players and IMG behind them, the Fashion Trends Daily team may spot a few more tennis stars at the tents at Lincoln Center come September (in their respective Uniqlo & H&M looks, of course) — especially since that will also be U.S. Open time. Advantage: Us!