Tennis’s beauty’s infinite roots are self-competitive. You compete with your own limits to transcend the self in imagination and execution. Disappear inside the game: break through limits: transcend: improve: win. —David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest.
It was through tennis that first got me into fashion. John McEnroe • Gabriela Sabatini • Vitas Gerulaitis • Guillermo Vilas • Mats Wilander • Chris Evert. I was a junior player, ranked fifteen in my hometown state of North Carolina. Needless to say, tennis was all pervading—both on and off the court. I can still remember the moment that I felt a shift in how I viewed style. It was an issue of GQ Magazine, somewhere within the party pages that I first saw my world transcend club sports and what I believed to be reserved for the pages of Tennis Magazine: Mats Wilander. There in flashing camera lights was a paparazzi picture of one of the game’s greatest players leaving the US Open in street clothes. I began to watch the sport for the aesthetics as much as the athleticism.
Tennis culture and ‘80s country club-attire are a big part of The Academy New York’s fourth women’s ready-to-wear collection. Some references are more head-on like club jackets, knit polo shirts and dresses, and classic tennis skirts rethought in men’s suiting fabrics. Others more nuanced like a lightweight cotton glen plaid check suit overdyed in tennis ball-yellow and “T.A.N.Y.” embroideries in traditional Wimbledon colors of dark green and purple. Incorporating the brand’s more foundational core pieces was a natural progression: sweatshirts and hoodies, now in technical fabrications and featuring an updated The Academy Tennis Club-logo as well as tennis-inspired phrases like “No Guts No Glory” and “Grand Slam” and I’m one case, a screen-printed picture of Arthur Ashe above a rallying cry that says, “Nothing Is Cool Anymore.”