Tennis champion Venus Williams actually studied fashion design. Her apparel designs are not just licensing deals that make use of her name; they are original designs by Venus herself. In 2007 she launched EleVen, a ready-to-wear collection of classic dresses and tennis sportswear, to critical acclaim. Although the brand had to take a back seat while her tournament wins piled up, media interest remained, as she frequently wore her own creations on the court. In 2010, while Venus landed on the best-dressed lists of Vogue and Forbes, EleVen partnered with Ralph Lauren on a capsule collection that sold out at the U.S. Open and online. That same year a partnership with Gilt made dresses worn by Venus on the court available to the public. Shortly after that Venus paired up with Diane Von Furstenburg on a line for Reebok. In 2012 Venus re-launched EleVen and added menswear to the line to round out the lifestyle collection.
For the 2012-13 season, Venus mentored Otis College of Art and Design students to develop designs for colorful tennis apparel, both functional and timeless, that evoke her own very special style. Here is a gallery of pics from the Otis Scholarship Benefit and Fashion Show, held in Beverly Hills on May 5, 2013, showcasing the student designs created during the EleVen by Venus mentorship.
Photos copyright 2013 (c) The LA Fashion Magazine