Maria Sharapova is a star on and off the court. When she's not swinging her racket, Sharapova is a fashionista. Besides being featured in many magazines and ad campaigns, Sharapova's fashion career is most recognized from her collaboration with Cole Haan and Nike. The tennis champion has been well noted for her exquisite fashion taste so naturally she would create her own fashions.
Sharapova signed with Nike when she was just 11 years old. As a young girl, she always had trouble finding tennis clothes that would fit. She told PEOPLE, "It started from a young age [...] When I started working with Nike I was 11 years old. The extra-small shirt was like a dress for me. So I was cutting the shirts to make them into regular shirts for me." Since then, she has strived to make sportswear apparel for all women of different sizes.
"For me, everything is about the fit and the comfort," Sharapova said. "The most challenging thing is that every woman has a different body shape and it is about creating pieces that are flattering on most of them. I go to my local club in Florida and I see a lot of 14-year-olds in my designs so I have to make something that is appropriate for them and also for the adult leagues in California ... I always go to local stores and ask about the clothes and how they are doing. I just pop in. I do it all the time and I have given a lot of feedback to Nike."
Sharapova's collection will be worn by her and six other players. At this year's championships, the tennis champ wears a white pleated dress with neon green straps. Outfits worn by the other players will be a bit different - it would be hard to make it drastically different due to Wimbledon's strict rule that clothes should be predominately white. "They are wearing two pieces and I am wearing a dress," she says. "The silhouette is a little different because they have skirts and I have a dress that has pleats. It is an interesting challenge creating two pieces that coordinate but are unique enough that they don't compete against each other.
The athlete makes sure she will always stand out on the court, especially after a "who wore it best" issue at a previous game. " From the moment I won Wimbledon in 2004, when two other players were wearing the dress I wore, I wanted to look different from everyone else . . . I had this idea of doing something a little edgier, unexpected and maybe not for everybody, but it is my voice."
Her fellow players and viewers both love her collection. A front-row fixture at every fashion week, Sharapova is aware of trend and incorporates style and detail to every garment.
Watch Sharapova discuss her design inspiration.
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