Excerpt from “Tennis Champion Kim Clijsters Will Wear This Black Woman–Owned Label for Her Return to the U.S. Open,” Vogue 8/31/20
For the last few months, Clijsters has been working alongside Full Court Sport founder, designer, and fellow sports lover Marguerite Wade on a custom look for the U.S. Open. The designs include a minimal teal tennis dress, navy shorts, and logo T-shirt, and they will all be available in limited quantities on the Full Court Sport website beginning tomorrow after Clijsters’s match.
This is the first time since Full Court Sport’s launch in 2016 that a professional athlete has worn its clothes during a game (or in this case, a match). Wade is based in New York City, but her label is produced in Portland, Oregon. Her collections are highly functional and as stylish in action as they are for everyday life. The line is tennis focused, with both monochrome and color-block leggings and skirts that come with comfortable ball pockets. It also includes sweats, sports bras, windbreakers, tees and tanks fit for any kind of sport.
Clijsters discovered Full Court Sport while searching for independent athletic apparel labels online, and she immediately felt connected to the brand and drawn to its sleek, sharp style. Clijsters also wanted to use her return to the court as a vehicle to promote and empower an independent label, rather than a well-known athletic brand. As she explains, “At this stage in my career and life, I understand the power of action an athlete can have, so I try to use my platform to give others the opportunity to tell their story.”
Wade was thrilled when Clijsters reached out, despite worries that a collaboration would be tricky due to the circumstances surrounding the global pandemic. Still, “I couldn’t think of a more worthwhile challenge,” Wade says of the initial discussions for the project. “It was tough—fabricators were closed or backed up; physical contact was limited. But it was with the help of so many people that I was able to work on this collaboration, and I’m very grateful. As Arthur Ashe said: ‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’”
Read the full story by Brooke Bob at vogue.com.