Serena Williams recently unveiled the latest addition to her fashion line that she launched back in May 2018: sizes beyond XL. What's especially exciting, however, is that, rather than calling these sizes "plus," she's calling them "great."
"I got tired of the word 'plus,'" she told Marie Claire in an interview. "I don't want to be 'plus.' I want to be great."
Williams told the magazine that she, herself, is in-between sizes. And she wants women, including those like her, to feel "great," too.
"I wanted to make clothes that would fit a curvy women and have them feel great; let's focus on that," she said.
There's a market for "great" fashion, too. Marketdata analysts estimate that, in 2015, the plus size market in the United States was worth $21.5 billion — and sales are expected to grow by 4.1 percent annually. This means that the market should reach just under $26 billion by 2020, according to Market Research. The increase is largely driven by the fact that 68 percent of American women wear a size 14 or above. Williams is positioning herself for success — despite all of the pushback she'd received from industry insiders.
In an Instagram post in May, Williams described her foray into fashion.
"They say life is about timing," she wrote. "I learned this lesson at age 18, when I chose to play a light tennis schedule because I wanted to go to fashion school. Some criticized my decision, but I knew I had two loves — tennis and fashion — and had to find a way to make them coexist. After 15 years of false starts, and people in fashion telling me 'no,' it only drove me to work harder. As a result, I discovered what it meant to invest in myself, and I allowed that belief in myself to drive me to reach my dream. Today, I am proud to launch @serena , my own online shop. Never stop believing in yourself, you're worth it. #BeSeenBeHeard"
The tennis star's Great Collection carries pieces in sizes from 1X to 3X (dress sizes 14 to 24), which consumers can find on Neighborhood Goods and Williams' own website. They consist of everything from black leggings to sequin skirts and ruched dresses, all of which go for under $200.
"It’s important to me to have high-quality pieces without them costing $500," she told Marie Claire.
Admitting that she loves fast fashion but noting that it doesn't last, Williams is creating quality fashion for women to feel empowered.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.