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Donna Vekic debuts Donna Sport, aiming to add elegant touch to Australian Open
The 26-year-old is taking her savvy business sense into the fashion world in partnership with Uomo Sport, creating a womenswear line that evokes a classic, country club aesthetic.
Published Jan 16, 2023
WATCH: Vekic has been on a roll since last fall when she finished runner-up to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in San Diego.
At a time when tennis fashion is being taken to its logical extreme, Donna Vekic is staking a claim for its country club roots.
“A lot of brands are getting into crazy patterns, crazy colors,” Vekic exclaimed on the phone to me last week. “I like to keep things more classic and elegant. There doesn’t need to be too much going on in one outfit.”
Vekic looks to set a new standard with Donna Sport, a womenswear line created in partnership with Uomo Sport—and clearly written in the stars.
“It’s perfect because Donna, obviously, means ‘woman’ in Italian. When I first heard about it, I loved the concept.”
One of the many players to have departed from Nike’s once-formidable stable in 2023, the 26-year-old is taking the opportunity to expand a business empire that began with a line of DNNA candles and is quickly becoming the face of an international fashion-lifestyle brand.
“This is a new chapter of my life, and it’s something I was missing with Nike, to be able to put my input into the design,” said Vekic, who had worn Nike since her junior days.
“I’ve had big visions and goals ever since I was little. I’m still young, I’m 26, but I honestly feel very old! I’ve been on tour for more than 10 years. I’ve always had a lot of interests outside tennis, but I’m happy that I’m able to incorporate the goals and ideas I have outside of tennis into tennis. The candle is completely outside tennis, but now, who knows where I’m going to go next?”
Seeking guidance from good friend and Leilou designer Aleksandra Dojcinovic, Vekic got to work, creating a mood board and drawing inspiration from Stella McCartney’s famed collaboration with Adidas to create an elegant marriage of form and function.
“Our main vision is to have a very classy, chic brand. When I think of myself, I would like to think that I’m pretty classy, both on and off the court, and I want my clothes to represent that.
“I have to emphasize how good the quality of material we’re using, as well. We’re working with Italian fabrics, so the quality is unreal. It was so hot in Perth but I didn’t feel hot or sweaty at all.”
Vekic debuted the line to rave reviews at United Cup, and after unveiling a pink-and-white ensemble for her Australian Open first round against Oskana Selekhmeteva, the Croat is already thinking about what she’ll design for Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
“Everything is still very last minute, so I hope it will be ready in time. I’m hoping for whatever I wear to be more colorful for the Melbourne, because you want the color to pop in the sun and against the blue courts, I think it’ll be very nice.”
Though she may hold out on sharing the line with her fellow players the way Venus Williams contracted rivals to compete in her EleVen designs, Vekic is eager to see the results of the larger sartorial sea change—and hopes it leads to an end of the dreaded fashion repeats.
“How many times do you see two players wearing the same thing in a match? To me, that’s horrible!” she laughed.
“Whenever I played one of my friends, I would reach out to her before the match and ask what they were planning to wear so I could avoid matching. We would agree not to wear the same thing, but it happens a lot anyway and even more on the men’s side because they usually just have one collection. So, it’ll be really nice to see more fashion variety on the court!”
After going undefeated in United Cup singles action, Vekic arrived in Melbourne flanked by a new addition to her team in Pam Shriver, who is acting as an advisory coach. That additional support, in tandem with her growing business empire, is helping her maintain a mindset as clean as her Donna Sport lines.
“These kinds of ventures do take your mind off of some of the daily stress you feel with tennis,” she mused. “At the same time, it’s not easy because you’ll be completely dead after a day of training but still have to think about something completely different. That takes its own energy and effort, but I’ve always had an amazing team around me, from my parents to the people working on DNNA and now Uomo Sport. They’ve been so helpful and make things a little bit easier for me.”