June 30, 2016

Court Side Couture

June 30, 2016

Court Side Couture

Katie Swan struggles with Nike’s Premier Slam dress on her Wimbledon debut. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Katie Swan struggles with Nike’s Premier Slam dress on her Wimbledon debut. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Underwear scandals are common in SW19. Last year, it was the Canadian Eugenie Bouchard’s black bra strap; in 2014, retired men’s champion Pat Cash denounced pre-match underwear checks. And this year, it is Czech player Lucie Šafářová’s Nike tennis dress, which ballooned all game to expose her knickers.

Few things unite Wimbledon crowds (sorry, Andy) like a perceived slight against the tournament’s strictures. But, more to the point: why did Nike design such an impractical dress for the female players it sponsors?

This was, in fact, the second iteration of the £75 Premier Slam dress: Nike asked players to return it for alterations last week. Serena Williams and Sabine Lisicki have both reportedly refused to wear it. “I tried it on but didn’t feel comfortable showing that much,” Lisicki said. Poor 17-year old Katie Swan struggled with the dress during her defeat to Tímea Babos yesterday afternoon. Midway through, she tucked it into her shorts.

“Nike probably has departments devoted to wearer trials,” says Sally Dixon, the founder of activewear brand Every Second Counts. “I’m very surprised.” She is sympathetic to Swan’s frustrated mid-match alteration. “Players don’t expect to have to redesign kit to make it fit for purpose.”

(Read the article in full on The Guardian)

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