There's a very short list of athletes whose impact outside of their sport rivals their influence within it. Arthur Ashe, legendary tennis player and first Black man to win the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and more, is the perfect embodiment of such a dynamic. His admirable accomplishments on the court were but a fraction of his legacy; a champion for civil rights at home and abroad, Arthur Ashe truly revolutionized what it meant to be an athlete using one's voice for good. Through it all, he was also one of the most influential style icons of the 20th century, shaping and reshaping our notion of prepwear and the myriad ways in which the style could be subverted. Today, the Arthur Ashe brand is launching as an homage to the legendary player, a result of a partnership between Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and the Arthur Ashe estate.
Arthur Ashe Brand Celebrating his Legacy On and Off the Court Launches Today
The brand's debut collection, releasing today at arthurashe.com, is from Jack Carlson, co-founder of Rowing Blazers and Kith alum Karl-Raphael Blanchard.
“You have Fred Perry, a British tennis lifestyle brand named after Fred Perry. And Lacoste, a French brand dedicated to the legacy of René Lacoste. But there hasn’t been an American equivalent. Who better to represent the United States than Arthur Ashe?” says Carlson. “Arthur Ashe has been a hero of mine for a long time. His icy cool demeanor, effortless style, scholarly approach to sport, his will to win and determination to stand up for social justice all resonate with me deeply. The opportunity to work to create this brand has been a dream come true.”
“I’m so grateful to Jeanne for trusting in us, and to all the organizations involved,” says Blanchard. “This brand is here to commemorate one of our Black heroes who encapsulated style and grace on and off the court. This is the beginning of something very special.”
In addition to the design goals of the brand, meant as an homage to the legend's incredible style throughout his career, they mean to embody his philanthropic and social justice efforts as well. A portion of all the brand’s sales will go to two organizations: 1) the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund at UCLA (Ashe’s alma mater), which seeks to amplify Ashe’s unwavering commitment to social, political and health-related causes through education, engagement and empowerment; and 2) the Social Change Fund United, which was created by philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade to support critical and timely issues impacting the Black community.
The Arthur Ashe brand draws inspiration from Ashe’s life and career, something fans of his style will be able to infer from the collection. There's a reproduction of the iconic U.S. Davis Cup team warm-up suit he famously wore during the 1975 Wimbledon prize-giving, part of the collection comprised of a mix of athletic apparel and leisurewear for men and women, including tennis polos, shorts, skirts, sweats, tees, knitwear, and accessories.
The campaign is incredibly beautiful, browse the collection below:
The brand launches today online at arthurashe.com and with two pop-up shops: one at 2 Rivington Street in New York City, and the other on the grounds of the U.S. Open in the shadow of the stadium that bears Ashe’s name. Arthur Ashe will also be carried by Rowing Blazers at rowingblazers.com. Prices in the debut collection range from U.S. $25-$265.
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