Wilson's Tennis & Golf Heritage Inspired Drops 004 & 005
Learn how Sportswear Lead Designer Joelle Michaeloff drew from over a century of Tennis and Golf history to design Wilson Sportswear Drops 004 & 005.
When Thomas E Wilson founded a small sporting goods company back in 1914, he believed he could change the game. 107 years worth of athlete input, thousands of patents, 500 Grand Slams and 62 Majors later, nowhere is his dream more realized than in the sports of tennis and golf. Sportswear Drop 004 and Drop 005 are modern-day celebrations of our heritage in both sports.
Wilson has always been right there, woven into the fabric of the times, pushing the envelope with an exciting advancement, a new technology, the promise of a better experience and better performance for athletes. Wilson Sportswear is the next evolution of this mission: clothing created for the lifelong athlete who does it all, who needs garments that will take them from fierce competitor to weekend warrior seamlessly.
“Drops 004 + 005 include some of my favorite pieces for the season,” says Sportswear Head of Design Joelle Michaeloff. “We were largely inspired by classic tennis as well as our equipment for Drop 004! We set out to solve for adequate storage, for a body in constant motion that wants to stay cool, dry, and comfortable while playing on and off the court.” Drop 005 draws the same type of inspiration from golf.
The Wilson Sportswear Ad Staff members are perfect muses for the line. Wkewsi Williams, a pro tennis player-turned coach is always on the go and needs clothes that put in work as he does. And Kelley James, a musician and golfer whose unique ability to combine his two passions has him performing music all over the country--from the PGA Tour to the recording booth. His clothing needs to comfortably fit his body and his surroundings.
“We tapped into classic vibes and utilized technology to create modern functional pieces,” Michaeloff says. “One of my favorite examples is how we used seamless technology to create a classic cable pattern – usually seen in sweater knits not for sweating in – but now you can absolutely sweat and play in these pieces while being dry, comfortable, and almost seam-free to prevent chafing.” Two pieces within Drop 005 feature this refreshed take on cable knit, including the Diversey Jacket and Kenmore Dress.
The seams are completely unique to the line thanks to inspiration from tennis balls.
“We used welded seam technology found on our tennis balls and incorporated this detail to reinforce join seams where you may experience extra stretch or wear from a bag or pack,” says Michaeloff.
More equipment-inspired details include the three-color bonded pocket on the Newport Tee, created to play off of Wilson’s signature three-color rackets. The Legacy Tight was designed to hold two tennis balls as well as a phone or card.
“You’ll also see hints of our Optic Tennis Ball Yellow color throughout details and trims – tying us to our roots of innovating throughout history,” says Michaeloff. “We launched some of the best tennis skirts and on-court shorts as well as sweat-worthy tops and second layer pieces – PLAY ON!!!!”
Read on to learn about Wilson’s history in Tennis and Golf, and to see more of the iconic images that inspired Sportswear Drops 004 & 005.
Courting Tennis Players from Day One
It’s easy to understand why Wilson is the #1 Global Tennis Brand. Wilson’s roots in tennis date all the way back to the company’s founding in 1914. The first Wilson tennis racket was released the same year. By 1917, Wilson was producing 28 racket models and had begun pioneering innovations that would change the game of tennis forever--like the very first leather grip released in 1934 which set a new industry standard. In 1949, Wilson partnered with Jack Kramer to create the Jack Kramer Autograph racket which was on the market for 35 years and remains one of the best-selling rackets of all time. Wilson tennis balls also gained massive popularity, becoming the official ball of the US Open in 1978.
Other Wilson Tennis innovations include the introduction of the first steel racket in 1967 and the 1980 release of the revolutionary kevlar and graphite Pro Staff model--a racquet family so beloved by the pros (like Roger Federer) that it’s been played in nearly 200 Grand Slam victories. In 1987, the Wilson Profile Racket was the first wide-bodied racket in tennis, giving players a completely new level of power to players. By 2005, Wilson was the official ball of the Australian Open, and 2019 saw the release of the Clash racket which immediately became the #1 selling racket globally thanks to its groundbreaking tech.
Wilson Tennis has powered some of the most legendary players in the world, including John McEnroe, Tracy Austin, Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, Pete Sampras, Serena Williams and Roger Federer. With a roster like that, it’s no surprise Wilson Tennis owns more Grand Slam titles than any other tennis brand: more than 500 and counting.
Par for the Course Since 1914
Wilson has been producing top-of-the-line golf clubs since the company’s founding. Over a century later, Wilson is still the most winning golf brand, earning more majors than any other golf brand.
The very first Wilson golf clubs were manufactured in 1914, using assembly line techniques inspired by Henry Ford. In 1933, Wilson introduced the Wilson Ogg-mented irons. These new irons revolutionized clubs in the United States, moving the weight of the club away from the heel and to the sweet spot of the blade.
Also in 1933, Gene Sarazen partnered with Wilson and became the first golfer on the Wilson Advisory Staff, working with R+D to create innovative new clubs. In the 1935 Masters, Sarazen hit the “Shot Heard Round the World” with a Wilson Staff golf club. In 1948, then-president of Wilson Lawrence Icely provided the financial backing to form the Women’s PGA Tour, now known as the LPGA.
Since then, Wilson has pioneered countless innovations that have changed the industry forever. Like low-compression golf balls and the Staff Model irons, both considered radical when they hit the market. There was even a reality show --Driver vs. Driver‒ on the Golf Channel.
To this day, the Wilson Advisory Staff roster includes some of the most iconic golfers in the game, like Padraig Harrington, Gary Woodland and Brendan Steele. Just like Gene Sarazen in the 1930s, these pros still work with R+D to test equipment and inspire new innovations that will undoubtedly move the game forward.