Look Closely for Coco Gauff’s Homage to New York Tennis
Gauff’s tennis dress during the U.S. Open features images of public courts throughout the five boroughs.
The fans who have filled courts to the last row hoping to catch a glimpse of Coco Gauff at the United States Open may have admired her outfit, which appears from a distance to feature a retro tile pattern evoking the 1950s or 60s. Those with a closer vantage point may have guessed doors or windows.
Up close, though, the details can be seen: The print on her outfit shows aerial photographs of tennis courts — public courts around New York City.
Chris Olberding, president of Gitman Bros., designed the print for a collaboration between his line, Gitman Vintage, and New Balance, the athletic apparel company that sponsors Gauff.
Olberding, an avid tennis player around New York, chose images from courts across four boroughs: Central Park and Canal Street in Manhattan; the Cary Leeds Tennis Center at Crotona Park in the Bronx; Fort Greene and Park Slope in Brooklyn; and the courts of the U.S.T.A. Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, where Gauff has been competing. There is even a nod to courts long gone, with images of old purple rooftop courts belonging to New York University in SoHo.
“All of it was to make it very focused on the celebration of New York City courts which most people play on,” Olberding said.
He said the print has been well received by Gauff, who plays on public courts in Delray Beach, Fla.
For Olberding, the design gives a visual nod to New York without being obvious; other brands have included the Statue of Liberty in various outfits in past years.
“A lot of other brands will reference New York City, but it’s more with a skyline, more with things that are kind of predictable,” Olberding said. “I think this is a real tennis player’s tennis kit.”
The print also was used for the shorts worn by male players sponsored by New Balance. Olberding has used tennis in his designs for Gitman Vintage before, including a “disco” shirt in an art deco color scheme that alluded to the desert resort style of Indian Wells, Calif., home of a prominent tournament in March.
“It’s my dream come true of marrying my passion to my work,” Olberding said.
Olberding said workers at Gitman Bros.’ factory in Ashland, Pa., part of a former coal mining region, had taken considerable pride in being connected to Gauff’s story.
“There’s a lot of energy, enthusiasm, and being quite proud that we’re associated with this young lady having this wonderful moment,” Olberding said. “At the factory it’s quite uplifting for them, and it really puts a smile on the face of a lot of people on the floor. They’re quite over the moon, having this kind of visibility.”
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