In 2019, Nike and Serena Williams partnered to create the Serena Williams Design Crew (SWDC), a design apprenticeship program at Nike created to promote diversity in design and establish a new generation of design talent at Nike and beyond.
In January 2020, Nike welcomed the first SWDC to Nike’s World Headquarters where they spent six months working to produce a Serena-inspired footwear, apparel and accessories capsule collection of women’s performance and lifestyle product.
Today, Nike is proud to introduce the first collection from the inaugural SWDC cohort, which seamlessly connects sport and culture while drawing upon 90s nostalgia. The collection explores Serena’s lineage and legacy through her past and present — as well as the future she’s influencing, and reflects Nike’s approach to encoding deep meaning into the products it creates for athletes* – meaning every design decision, down to the smallest details, was made with Serena in mind.
Serena Williams Design Crew Program Information
The six-month+ SWDC apprenticeship program brings together a group of talented individuals (10 apprentices in year one, 11 apprentices in 2021) as a design collective annually and is part of a multiyear commitment between Nike and Serena Williams.
Each year centers on attracting talent from a major U.S. city and the surrounding metropolitan area: New York in year one and Chicago in year two. Following the initial SWDC apprenticeship program, Nike converted seven of the original 10 apprentices into full-time employees. The second group of 11 SWDC apprentices were inducted in May 2021 with the goal of helping to build their careers as designers with Nike (or elsewhere in the design industry).
The program model highlights how Nike is partnering with its roster of world-class female athletes to create deeper, more meaningful relationships that go beyond sport to create change and empower communities through action.
The SWDC apprenticeship program includes a structured design curriculum built in partnership with Nike’s product design teams at Nike World Headquarters (WHQ), spanning footwear, apparel, accessories, color, materials and 3D, along with curated Nike experiences and deep mentorship that together help develop a new generation of design talent. Each year, the SWDC apprentices work together to produce a Serena-inspired collection of footwear, apparel and accessories.
This year, season two, the SWDC program is supported by additional partnerships with design institutions and talent pipelines that cater to a diverse design demographic, including Pensole, Midwest Fashion Week, Indiana Fashion Foundation and more.
In true Serena form, the first-ever SWDC collection changes the game with a crew of up-and-coming movers, makers and doers. Each piece of the footwear and apparel collection celebrates Serena the athlete, style icon and champion of change. Serena’s story is woven into every detail. A timeline of her grand slams is immortalized in tape. The double zero in ‘00 Williams’ reps her daughter’s ‘OO’ initials and meaning of ‘love’ in tennis. The bold prints inspired by West African Kente cloth feature a hidden ‘S’ in the pattern. And to top it off, all pieces are tagged with Serena’s signature — her personal seal of approval.
NIKE COURT LEGACY SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW
Featuring a traditional Kente cloth design, 4 gold eyelets that honor Serena’s gold medals and see-saw edging, it celebrates Serena the athlete and Serena the fashion icon.
NIKE COURT LEGACY SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW
With a textured upper, 4 gold eyelets that honor Serena’s gold medals and see-saw edging, it celebrates Serena the athlete and Serena the fashion icon.
NIKE AIR MAX KOKO SERENA DESIGN CREW
Designed to break barriers, this platform sandal adds a splash to any outfit. A thick, layered foam midsole provides a smooth and flexible feel. The SWDC “10 4 01” logo on the top celebrates inclusivity, diversity, and the bond between individual and team.
NIKE RYZ 365 2 SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW
Celebrating Serena the athlete and Serena the fashion icon, details nod to her achievement on and off the court. It’s incredibly soft, hyper-modern midsole features fun cutouts that play with light and texture. The SDC “10 4 01” logo on the tongue celebrates inclusivity, diversity, and the bond between individual and team.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S LONG-SLEEVE TENNIS BODYSUIT
The Serena Williams Design Crew Bodysuit immortalizes every year she’s won a grand slam on the smooth tape down each side. An asymmetrical turtleneck overlay and artfully incorporated breathability exemplify the craft and creativity that characterize the 10 designers behind the Serena Williams Design Crew.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S PRINTED TENNIS TOP
Elevated with a zigzag pattern that’s inspired by Kente cloth, the Serena Williams Design Crew Top is a bold celebration of her extraordinary accomplishments on and off the court.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S PRINTED TENNIS SHORTS
At first look, the Serena Williams Design Crew Shorts look like they walked right out of the ’90s. Look a little closer, however, and the intricate beauty of a Kente cloth print comes to life. Handpicked by Serena Williams, this incredible design honors her legacy with a traditional zigzag pattern and a repeating letter “S,” which is one of Serena’s symbols.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S CROSSOVER TENNIS TIGHTS
The Serena Williams Design Crew Tights let you walk on the court like you own it. The stretchy, sweat-wicking design combines an elastic waistband and ribbed material for a crossover look that adds extra coverage and support as you move.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S PRINTED 1/2-ZIP TENNIS TOP
The Serena Williams Design Crew Top is the layer you didn’t know you needed. Slightly stretchy and extra breathable, it’s the perfect piece for warming up or wearing around town.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S SHORT-SLEEVE TENNIS TOP
Fitted and slightly sheer, the Serena Williams Design Crew Top is made from stretchy fabric that moves with you. The intricate patterns take their cues from Kente cloth, which Serena Williams asked to highlight in this collection.
SERENA WILIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S SHORT-SLEEVE TENNIS CROP TOP
The Serena Williams Design Crew Crop Top puts a cropped spin on the look and feel of classic basketball jerseys. Flat, striped ribbing in place of traditional shoulder seams gives you extra room to move, while polishing off the sport look.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S TENNIS JERSEY DRESS
The Serena Williams Design Crew Jersey Dress brings the look and feel of basketball jerseys to the court. The embroidered “Williams 00” across the back is a tribute to Serena’s daughter, whose initials are “OO,” and also a tribute to the number zero, otherwise known as “love” in tennis.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S FLEECE TENNIS PANTS
A soft essential staple gets elevated. The Serena Williams Design Crew Pants takes comfortable, cozy fleece and polishes it off with a mesh overlay on the sides and back and stretchy, jogger-inspired hems.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S WOVEN TENNIS PANTS
Handpicked by Serena Williams and brought to life by the Serena Design Crew, this incredible design honors her incredible legacy with a traditional zigzag pattern and a repeating letter “S,” which is one of Serena’s symbols.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S FLEECE TENNIS HOODIE
This is a whole new look for fleece. The Serena Williams Design Crew Hoodie takes a comfortable closet essential and updates it with a sporty mesh overlay. “love” in tennis.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S PRINTED TENNIS JUMPSUIT
Crafted from smooth fabric, the Serena Williams Design Crew Jumpsuit is a functional piece with a ’90s-esque vibe you can wear everywhere. Inspired by the intricate beauty of Kente cloth, the unique design celebrates her career with a traditional zigzag pattern and a repeating letter “S,” which is one of Serena’s symbols.
SERENA WILLIAMS DESIGN CREW – WOMEN’S TENNIS JUMPSUIT
Crafted from lustrous fabric, the Serena Williams Design Crew Jumpsuit is a functional-yet-chic piece you can wear everywhere. Brought to you by the talented dreamers behind the Serena Williams Design Crew, it has a zipper in the front for quick and easy layering. Plus, the jogger-inspired cuffs let you show off your sneakers.