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Tennis Star Venus Williams is Also a Fashion Designer

Seven-time major champion tennis player Venus Williams talks about her second job as a fashion designer.
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When I was a kid, I always picked out my own clothes, and of course I thought I had great style at the time. My style has significantly evolved from those days to be more edgy and sophisticated.

And my love of fashion continues to grow. Fashion is a means for me to express my individuality and pair garments and accessories together in a uniquely creative way. I love going shopping and probably do too much of it!

I was never without a pencil in hand. The stick figures of my younger years have definitely evolved into true fashion sketches that I’m quite proud of, but the one thing that hasn’t changed is that I’m still never without pencil in hand. Well, sometimes there is a racket in hand.


From a very young age my parents emphasized the importance of education and taught my sisters and me to work for ourselves, and ultimately to be entrepreneurs. My dream was to design my own clothing line, and when that letter [from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale] arrived in the mail [when I was 18], I believe it was kismet. It’s important to believe in oneself.

It’s hard to pinpoint the most rewarding aspect of having my own fashion line, EleVen, because I’m involved in every part of the business with my amazing team. I serve as the design director and am involved in everything from sales to public relations to marketing to finance.

Throughout my life I’ve never played it safe. I think at one point I was becoming complacent with some of my design choices, and my team pushed me harder to elevate my creativity and go back to the drawing board. They all know that I love a challenge!


I’m very proud that EleVen continues to push the design envelope and that women are so receptive to what we make. The biggest challenge is that I need more then 24 hours in a day, and it would be nice if there were more colors in the rainbow. I always feel like I run out of colors to choose from.

My proudest moments as a designer have been seeing someone actually wearing my clothes! You don’t always know if someone will love what you design as much as you do. It’s satisfying to see people working out, doing something positive in EleVen.

Top photograph by Taylor Ballantyne