Arthur Ashe, the legendary first Black man to win the men’s singles title at the Australia Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open, is honored through a brand new fashion brand named after him.
Rowing Blazer’s founder Jack Carlson and Karl-Raphael Blanchard along with the collaboration with the tennis player’s wife, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, created the Arthur Ashe brand to emulate Ashe’s flawless style and send a message.
“A tennis lifestyle brand named ‘Arthur Ashe’ means the doors are open to more than just one community of people,” Blanchard said. “A Black tennis icon showed us what it meant to be a champion in an otherwise predominantly white-dominated sport. This gives us the reminder to continue to break down barriers because so many will follow and be great!”
The clothing brand resembles Ashe’s ’70s elegant yet cool style. The brand features Ahe’s champions warm-up jackets and bottoms, 1968 tennis polos, sport logo caps, mesh shorts, graphic tees, hoodies, joggers, and more.
Blanchard told Essence that he has always felt tied to Ashe, especially living in the same city where he won the U.S. Open for the first time and earned only $20, Forest Hills, New York.
“His style has always been on my mood board,” Blanchard explained. “Being part of telling his story with his estate has made me more keen to the impact Ashe had on so many communities.”
On top of providing fashion assortments that resemble Ashe’s style, Arthur Ashe partnered with the Arthur Ashe Legacy Fund at UCLA and Social Change Fund United, started by NBA players Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony.
As Brand Director, it’s more than just trying to make cool clothing, and I think brands should be built with that notion in mind,” Blanchard said. “I’m thinking more in the sense of community. Building and maintaining relationships with those receptive to what the mission is here at Arthur Ashe, which is to honor a legacy. Once that point comes across, then the rest will unfold nicely.”
Arthur Ashe clothing is available on its site but will join the Rowing Blazers site soon.