'Watch This Space': Could Naomi Osaka's Future Plans Include Fashion Design?

Illustration for article titled 'Watch This Space': Could Naomi Osaka's Future Plans Include Fashion Design?
Screenshot: Levi’s (YouTube)

Naomi Osaka has been killing the game—both on and off the tennis court. The 23-year-old Grand Slam winner currently ranks third in the World Tennis Association rankings, but she’s currently number one in endorsements, making her the highest paid woman in sports. And Osaka keeps on winning: earlier this month, she was announced as the new global ambassador for Louis Vuitton. This week, she made yet another major appearance, joining a slew of other well-known faces—including Jaden and Willow Smith, Vice President of Operations at Parkwood Entertainment Angie Beyince, designer/artist Tremaine Emory a.k.a Denim Tears, disability rights advocate Haben Girma and more—for Levi’s new “Beauty of Becoming” series.

In an exclusive with Osaka, People magazine described the spot, launched to coincide with Black History Month, as follows:

In the video, which was directed by filmmaker Oge Egbuonu, and features a “floral labyrinth” to represent “the many twists and turns of life,” Osaka wears a two-tone trucker jacket and jeans as she shares advice she would give her 14-year-old self on trusting the “journey” of becoming who she is today. “I feel like everyone has their experiences that shape them into a person, and no one can take that away from you,” she says in the video.

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“It was important to share my story in case I can help or inspire anyone,” Osaka told People. “My goal is really to raise awareness, so this campaign gave me that platform, which I’m very grateful for.”

Not that Osaka appears to be short on platforms, especially in fashion. As People (and The Glow Up) also noted, aside from starring on one of Vogue’s January covers and her new partnership with Vuitton, Osaka has collaborated with Nike, Adeam, accessories brand Strathberry and Comme des Garçons—and sees more fashion in her future.

“I’d like to start my own brand one day, probably together with my sister,” she told People, referring to older sister and fellow pro tennis player Mari Osaka. “[B]ut for now I’m loving collab’ing with some great designers and learning the craft and the business.”

Hmm...sounds like another Black, tennis-phenom sister act we know—each of whom also helms successful fashion brands while still wielding their rackets.

“I think having interests outside of tennis, like fashion, has definitely helped me have a balance,” Osaka told People. “It’s been such a difficult time for so many people—I’m grateful to have been kept busy and able to work. Not everyone has been so fortunate.”

“I’m working on a few more collaborations that will come out in 2021,” she added. “I can’t say exactly what yet, but I’m super excited. Watch this space.”

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As for her new campaign appearance for Levi’s, she told People it was “a lot of fun” on the “very chill” set, which also featured photography by Shaniqwa Jarvis. “It’s so iconic and a heritage brand,” said Osaka of the 167-year-old label.

As for her own legacy, Osaka’s just beginning, but advises: “Don’t compare yourself to anyone because the path that you’re on is yours and yours only...You decide the outcome of your life.”

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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