Naomi Osaka has proven that her star power extends well beyond the tennis court.
The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam winner, who is ranked second in the world, has become a favorite in the fashion and beauty worlds since she entered the spotlight after defeating Serena Williams at the U.S. Open in 2018, earning her first Grand Slam title.
Osaka isn’t just celebrated for her street-style-meets-athleisure aesthetic, but also for how she employs fashion to make a larger statement. The tennis star, who is Haitian and Japanese, was praised in the summer for her support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the U.S. Open when she wore a different face mask each day displaying the names of unarmed Black people who have been killed by police officers, including Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin and others.
Here, WWD looks at some of Osaka’s major fashion and beauty deals. Read on for more.
Louis Vuitton tapped Osaka as a brand ambassador on Jan. 11, marking the first time the design house has looked to a professional athlete for an ambassador role. Osaka will appear in the brand’s spring 2021 fashion campaign photographed by Louis Vuitton artistic director of women’s collections, Nicolas Ghesquière.
Osaka shared the news on her Instagram, writing: “Funny story: I first bought my mom a LV bag when I was 16 as a birthday present and it’s kinda been a tradition since. Do I call this a full circle moment? Yes.”
After rumors that Osaka was partnering with Adidas, it was revealed in April 2019 that the tennis player would instead be teaming with Nike for one of the brand’s many athlete partnerships.
Osaka worked with Nike to release her first apparel collection in November, which is an ode to her Haitian, Japanese and American heritages. The collection included athletic pieces such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, shorts and fanny packs designed with Osaka’s own logo and a camouflage print in an orange and green color way.
Frankies Bikinis tapped Osaka for its latest swimwear collaboration in May 2021 for two collections. Each collection included 30 bikini separates and cover-ups in sporty and feminine styles.
“I think it’s really important for brands to design for all women, not just certain sizes or shapes or body types. For me, it’s important to align myself with brands that make inclusivity a priority,” Osaka said. “Frankies Bikinis holds high standards for inclusivity, which allows everyone to be able to find products that make them feel confident and empowered. That’s exactly what we aimed to do with this collection.”
This January, Osaka and 13 other public figures were tapped by Levi’s for its “Beauty of Becoming” campaign where she spoke about her activism and how it’s shaped her life. Others included in the campaign were Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Brandon Flynn, Karla Welch and Melody Ehsani, among others.
Osaka made another foray into fashion design last year by teaming with Adeam creative director Hanako Maeda to help create pieces for the designer’s fall 2020 collection.
Osaka and Maeda were inspired by their Japanese heritage for the pieces. The tennis star sent the fashion designer her own sketches for the designs and worked closely with Maeda to create the capsule collection of shirtdresses and knit sweaters.
“Naomi is an amazing female role model, not just on the court but off the court as well,” Maeda said in an interview with WWD in September. “It’s wonderful that she is using her fame for a social cause. For a lot of people with the kind of influence that Naomi has, it can be difficult to take the extra step. It’s commendable that she’s not afraid to do that. Having her support has been amazing.”
Comme des Garçons
Osaka and Nike partnered up with Comme des Garçons in December to design a new Nike Blazer sneaker. The sneaker is designed in a neutral colorway featuring graphic writing that reads Osaka’s and the brand’s names. The style includes Osaka’s own signature and the phrase “Home Is Where the Heart Is” written in her handwriting.
Osaka’s relationship with Comme des Garçons dates back to her first U.S. Open win in 2017, when the Japanese brand dressed her for her championship photo op.
Osaka rounded out her year of fashion collaborations last year with a limited-edition collection of handbags with Scottish accessories brand, Strathberry. The collection included small color-blocked leather handbags and wallets.
Japanese beauty company, Shiseido, tapped Osaka in 2018 to serve as the face of BareMinerals and sunscreen brand Anessa. The appointment was monumental in the beauty industry as it was a win for inclusivity and diversity in the Japanese beauty market that typically spotlights fair-skinned models.
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