- About a year after launching into lifestyle apparel, Wilson on Thursday debuted a performance-focused tennis collection that is its most "premium" to date, according to a company press release.
- Tennis apparel has been a priority since the company launched its Wilson Sportswear unit last year and is the "main growth vehicle" across both men's and women's, the company said in an email. This specific collection is the most functional for actually playing tennis, the company said.
- The collection features polos, skirts, shorts, bras and warmup clothing. It will be available in Wilson’s stores and online.
Wilson continues its emphasis on apparel with the company’s latest tennis collection, which aims to blend “fashion and function for athletes at every level.”
Tennis is a sport Wilson has a deep history in, especially on the equipment side. Wilson has provided the official ball and served as the racket stringer for the U.S. Open for over 40 years, the company noted in its release. But apparel is a newer focus area for Wilson, which rolled out its first lifestyle apparel collection just last year. The company has always had an apparel offering, but its Sportswear line tackles clothing for both on and off the court.
For the U.S. Open last year, Wilson opened a pop-up dedicated to tennis to not only show off Wilson’s apparel and equipment offerings, but also to serve as an event space for tournament viewing. The location doubled as a museum, detailing Wilson’s history in tennis and milestone moments in the sport.
Wilson's new apparel strategy, which encompasses both performance and more casual, everyday wear, puts the company in more direct competition with sports generalists like Nike and Adidas. Lululemon has also begun launching sport-specific apparel collections to gain market share in activities like tennis, golf and hiking. Outside of tennis, Wilson offers more technical apparel in golf and basketball as well.
"Over the last year we've listened to our consumers and know that they want even more functionality and innovation within sportswear, while not compromising on style to perform their best," Gordon Devin, general manager and president of Wilson Sportswear, said in a statement. "We believe this collection does exactly that; celebrating our rich history in the sport of tennis and inspiring the athlete in us all."
Wilson is relatively new to the DTC strategy, which it began heavily pursuing in 2021. The company in July last year opened its first physical store, and the brand has plans for many more. Devin in January this year outlined a plan to have “10s” of stores spanning several different formats, including large flagship stores, smaller community stores and pop-ups for specific sporting events.
A more robust apparel assortment has been an important addition to Wilson’s product offering, and has led to more repeat shoppers, according to Devin.
“I think that we’re probably late to the game. Maybe the right time was earlier, but the right time was now because we hadn’t done it and we had to start it,” Devin said of the brand’s DTC strategy early this year. “And what we’ve learned is that, when we give customers the opportunity to interact with this brand and we try to give them the permission to love us, they really do."