After 17 years of designing for the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Ralph Lauren is still finding ways to keep its uniforms fresh. This year’s collection takes inspiration straight from the court in design and construction, using recycled plastic from last year’s competition.
In 2021, the brand collected 560 pounds worth of empty plastic Wilson tennis ball cans. The plastic was then manufactured into a durable yarn used to actually craft the collection. There are over 90 pieces total in the capsule, with its color-blocking and white lines inspired by tennis courts.
A serve from RL — The collection’s apparel is split into specific collections for umpires, ball teams, and spectators. Ralph Lauren’s classic polo shirts, tennis skirts, and shorts were made with the ball team in mind, while more polos, knit sweaters, visors, and socks are meant for use by umpires. The rest of the extensive collection will be spread across men’s, women’s, and children’s styles. This also marks the brand’s first time as the U.S. Open’s official sunglass sponsor, bringing two styles fitted with co-branding and Havana color schemes.
Fans will be able to add their personal flair to some of the apparel through customizable graphics on Ralph Lauren’s Create-Your-Own platform. If you have tickets to the tournament, you can also personalize your gear IRL at the event. Once the printing is complete, a text or email will notify you that it’s ready for pickup.
See you in court — Ralph Lauren has been hit hard during the past few years, at one point suffering a 57 percent decline in sales. Tennis, on the other hand, is one of the most popular sports of the moment, as participation increased by 22 percent in 2020. Brands are tapping into the preppy hobby with inclusive collections and impressive footwear, but it’ll take more than that to knock Ralph Lauren’s title as king of the court.
This year’s U.S. Open will take place on August 29, but if you want to show your spirit early, head to Ralph Lauren’s website to complete your look as the perfect spectator. Prices range from $16 for socks to $248 for a water-repellent sports jacket. The brand plans on collecting tennis ball cans yet again this year, so we’ll have to wait and see what they transform those into next.