Wimbledon wouldn’t be the same without strawberries and cream, Andy Murray’s dodgy knees and Nadal’s frequent, disturbing grunts. What is also notable about the sporting event, is It’s impeccable dress code; from the umpires’ pristine chinos, to Ralph Lauren’s custom ball boy/girl uniform and even the unquestionably clean all-white aesthetic of the player’s kit, there is no denying that tennis is a sport that embodies the world of fashion.
Designers that established their brands in the realms of streetwear, Heron Preston in particular comes to mind, are reverting back to traditional methods of tailoring. Paris fashion week was a showcase of innovative cuts and suiting, which is intrinsic to the formalities of Wimbledon; the umpires all wear navy pinstripe blazers, complemented by immaculate shirting and cream chinos, all provided by Ralph Lauren.
Lauren has been making history at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for over a decade now, but when he transformed the uniforms, it was no easy task. Originally, he wanted the officials to dress in all-white, like the players, but Wimbledon overturned this idea because they deemed it “too distracting”. The US native then fought hard for navy to be the predominant colour of the kits, and this has undoubtedly given the ball girls and boys more of an identity compared to the pretty disgusting green and purple colour palette prior.
The cult American brand are not the only ones to express an illustrious interest in Tennis. Recently, Lacoste collaborated with Tyler, The Creator’s Golf Le Fleur label for a capsule collection of pastel polo shirts and tracksuits, all heavily in the vein of the sport and It’s luxury connotations. The advert Itself displays one of Tyler’s models arguing with an official, all very John McEnroe, over a tennis shot being in or out. The collection is definitely a highlight for summer styling, any of the pieces would be perfect for sunny days, casual and formal motives.
It would be sacrilege to talk about tennis and fashion without mentioning Fred Perry, a brand named after the 10 time grand slam winning British racket sport fanatic. The label’s laurel wreath logo is incredibly iconic; not only does it highlight the surpassing sophistication of the sportswear giants, but it has become a symbol of subculture too, worshipped by everyone from skinheads to mods.
Fred Perry himself won three Wimbledon’s in a row, the only Brit to win the tournament since is Andy Murray, who has released collections in collaboration with FP. Blondey McCoy, the ex Palace pro-skater and model, is a living embodiment of the quintessentially British aesthetic Fred Perry refuse to give up, and thus his on going collaboration with the label is an effortless assortment of reimagined archive polos, skirts and headbands.
You can’t walk down the road for 5 minutes without seeing, at least, 10 pairs of Stan Smiths on the feet of the general public. The silhouette has printed It’s sole into the heart of high street fashion, becoming the subtle centre piece of many fits; It’s versatility stems from It’s simplicity, and is arguably the main reason Adidas’ headquarters has been a breeding ground of creativity over the last few years.
Designers in the calibre of Raf Simons have reinterpreted the Stan Smith, his signature, minimalistic take on luxury fashion transferred uncompromisingly into the silhouette. In complete contradiction to Raf’s unadulterated stance on the Stan, Pharrell splattered the shoe with his vibrant personality, releasing polka dot and Billionaire Boys Club patterned versions.
Like Adidas, Ellesse, Diadora and Sergio Tacchini are staple sportswear brands that have lived on the chest of football casuals for decades; they're timeless, generational labels which declare an identity linked to the terrace culture of football. However, these Italian fashion giants were originally very tennis-centric. Tacchini himself was a professional tennis player, winning the Italian Championship in 1960. When he started designing sportswear, he aimed to bring eccentricity and colour to the white dominated attire tennis is known for.
There is an odd eloquence to the clothing associated with tennis that can't really be boasted by many other sports. Your Dad's favourite polo shirt will be inspired by brands that hail the sport as one of pristine formality, and with Roger Federer recently signing a $300 million contract with Uniqlo, it seems the nature of the sport will stay like this for some time.