Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka, 21, talks about fronting a new Sacai x Nike collab, how it feels to be hyper-competitive, and “rolling with” her newfound fame.
When it comes to style, Naomi Osaka typically goes “back and forth between badass and feminine”, the tennis star tells Vogue. “When I’m not on the court, I tend to gravitate towards pieces that are super unique and funky – it’s too tame for Japan, but too wild for America,” says the 21-year-old reigning US Champion. Fitting then that Japanese brand Sacai has teamed up with Nike to design an 11-piece collection (available from the beginning of September) that’s Osaka personified.
“This collaboration was a special one because it was the perfect marriage of elevated Japanese fashion with the practical needs of my life as an athlete,” says Osaka, who was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father. “It makes me feel edgy and confident, but in an understated way. The collection is just really cool and different from anything else you see in sportswear right now… Kind of futuristic, but also really wearable streetwear.”
On why fashion matters to her:
“Fashion is very important to me and it’s something I’m passionate about. It’s the way that we all outwardly express who we are. I love the creative side of it and being able to design or wear something that’s unique, or actually has a meaning behind it. I wish I could change the tennis calendar so that I could spend some time at New York Fashion Week. It’s always so frustrating because after the US Open I always have to rush off to an event in Japan and therefore miss all the action.”
On her role models, and being one herself:
“In life, I look up to my family – my sister, mum and dad, and some other trailblazers like Beyoncé and Rihanna. I went to her Fenty pop-up store in Paris and may have splurged – oops! In sport, I have tremendous respect for those athletes that have managed not just to reach the top, but stay there for a long time… Serena [Williams], Kobe [Bryant], LeBron [James], come to mind. But being a role model is something that I take very seriously. I hope to inspire young athletes everywhere, but especially young girls from Japan and Haiti. Follow your dreams and anything is possible.”