On Wednesday morning in New York, I watched as Roger Federer toured the Uniqlo flagship on Fifth Ave, a phalanx of videographers moving amoeba-like around him. Outside, a small crowd of admirers was growing larger by the minute. If there’s one thing Federer has heard approximately one billion times from fans, it’s that he is their favorite tennis player. I joked that he might be becoming their favorite fashion designer. “Up-and-coming fashion designer,” he replied, cracking his famously warm grin.
As he was there to announce, Federer has created a collection of clothing for Uniqlo with Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson. Available August 28, the collaboration is the latest in a string of apparel and accessories projects the icon of sporting icons has launched in the last few years. In 2018, Federer signed an endorsement deal with Uniqlo, and began refining his on-court fits with the brand’s artistic director, Christoph Lemaire. In 2020, he released a sneaker he designed with On, the culty Swiss running brand. Following his retirement from tennis last year, Federer has been indulging in new hobbies like playing percussion with Coldplay and making pizzas with Scarr Pimentel in Dimes Square. And adding more fashion projects to his portfolio—this year, he inked a deal with Oliver Peoples to co-design sunglasses.
“I have been really busy,” he said, taking a seat in a private room in the back of the store. Federer had just arrived from the Hamptons with a grass court-season tan and a deep sense of ease about him, perhaps aided by his outfit. He was wearing a few favorites from the nine-piece unisex collection: a gray fleece zip-up jacket, a blue two-tone polo, and tapered, cropped track pants. “Jonathan really liked going back to the nineties track pants,” Federer said. “He thought that this would be a really cool touch. And when he showed me, I was like, ‘Okay, this brings me back to my teenage years. So let’s do that.’”
Has the most stylish man of the decade–as voted by GQ readers in 2019—entered a new, chiller era in retirement? “I’ve gotten a bit more casual for sure,” he said. “As you get older, you want to be younger again.”
Federer’s obsession with fashion began early in his career, long before the tour’s rising young guns graced runway show front rows and gunned for luxury endorsement deals. “I really enjoy it,” he said. “It’s like deep diving into a completely different world. It’s like the art world or the jewelry world or car world. The fashion world is the one I know a lot. And I’ve gotten to know so many of the beautiful and best designers, so I’ve been very fortunate.”
The tennis great clearly relished the opportunity to work with Anderson, who is on a creative tear at the helm of Loewe. “I saw Loewe really take flight. It’s been great to see what he’s done with it,” Federer said. “I love how professional he is, how quickly he moves, how great his team is, how nice he is to everyone. I always look especially to that. And if there’s really something that just doesn’t work out, he says, ‘Well, let’s change it, let’s move on and let’s make it better in the process.’ I feel like he finds great solutions.”