Arthur Ashe was not only a legendary tennis player — he was the first Black man to win the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and a slate of other history-making titles — but he was also a champion for civil rights at home and abroad, an advocate for numerous health-related initiatives, an activist for youth access to sports, a paragon of sportsmanship and etiquette, a style icon, and an American hero.
A new tennis and lifestyle brand named in his honor is the result of a partnership between Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and the Arthur Ashe estate; Jack Carlson, who founded cult brand Rowing Blazers and led the revival of two of Princess Diana’s favorite knitwear brands, Warm & Wonderful and Gyles & George; 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.”
The Arthur Ashe brand has long-term philanthropic partnerships with 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 with 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. A portion of all the brand’s sales will go to these two organizations.
On and off the court, Arthur Ashe harnessed fashion’s power to subvert, empower, and express the inexpressible. From the clean-cut aesthetic of his early years, to his more subversive and flashy ‘70s style, Ashe combined effortless elegance and impeccable edginess. The Arthur Ashe brand draws inspiration from Ashe’s life and career, including a reproduction of the iconic U.S. Davis Cup team warm-up suit he famously wore during the 1975 Wimbledon prize-giving. The collection also includes a mix of athletic apparel and leisurewear for men and women, including tennis polos, shorts, skirts, sweats, tees, knitwear, and accessories — all of which celebrate Ashe’s iconic style.
The Arthur Ashe brand has officially launched 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.
The brand will also be carried by Rowing Blazers at rowingblazers.com.