While hosting her pop-up shop in Miami this weekend, Serena Williams debuted a major development in her eponymous fashion line, Serena. For the first time since the launch of her “strong, sexy, sophisticated” clothing line last spring, she is offering extended sizes for selected styles, via her “Great” line, now ranging from extra small to 3X.
This is thrilling news for Serena fans, but as much as we admire the tennis star-turned-fashion designer (like her sister Venus, before her), our reviews are mixed. While we’re encouraged that her line is now accommodating a larger customer base, given how Serena has personally and professionally been affected by body politics and bias, we were admittedly disappointed that most of the line was only available up to an extra-large at its launch (in fact, several styles were only available in XS-L). And of the styles she’s now extended, we wish the range was a bit more dynamic and much less reliant on logo tees, sweatshirts and leggings, which comprise 12 of the 19 new styles available. It’s a bone thrown, but barely.
What works? That the styles available are truly extended sizes, meaning they are the same styles offered to smaller customers. However, we wish the sizing had just been integrated into the main collection, rather than requiring the “Great” banner. While plus-sized women are long accustomed to having to go to a special section (or specialty store) to shop, it is 2018, and there are new integrative models that are far more appealing and less marginalizing (see: American Standard or even Good American).
Our hope? That this is just the beginning, and that as Serena continues to roll out new styles, they will regularly be offered in extended sizes, so that everyone can be “great.” But for us, the best thing about this launch was seeing a beloved and familiar face in its inclusive campaign: that’s Danielle Young, former producer and host of The Root’s “Judge of Characters” posing next to Serena, below left. That’s a debut we wholeheartedly applaud.