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How Naomi Osaka’s New Levi’s Collab Pays Tribute To Her Heritage

“I like my clothes to tell a story and to be totally unique.”

Naomi Osaka's first-ever Levi's collection honors her heritage in these subtle ways.
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Naomi Osaka’s had a busy summer.

In July, the four-time Grand Slam singles champion took on the official duty of lighting the Olympic cauldron to end the opening ceremonies at the Tokyo Olympics, where she represented Team Japan. Now, she’s playing in her next major tournament, the US Open, which kicked off Aug. 30.

Off the court, the tennis phenom is making a name for herself in the fashion world with her debut Levi’s x Naomi Osaka collection, which launched in late August on the Levi’s app. It features four pieces, each made from vintage or upcycled denim and highlights silhouettes and design details that capture her personal style ethos.

“I like my clothes to tell a story and to be totally unique,” Osaka, 23, tells Bustle. “So in that sense, there’s a little something for everyone in this collection because it’s a mix of different styles — there’s a sporty low-slung short, a feminine bustier top, a traditional Japanese kimono, and a crystal fringe short, which feels a bit unexpected.”

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Osaka relied on her intuition throughout the design process. “I just get ideas that I love, and then my sister helps me sketch and bring them to life,” she says. She immersed herself in all things denim, learning everything she could about the various fits and fabrics, as well as how customizable the material is.

“We paid so much attention to detail,” Osaka says. “And I think my favorite is the flower bear logo on the back leather patch [on the shorts].”

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The collection is also a tribute to her cultural heritage, thanks to items like a denim kimono and matching obi belt — both a nod to her home country.

And with its construction from vintage and upcycled denim, the line also promotes sustainability.

“This was a combination of loving the Levi’s brand and wanting to do something that had a positive environmental impact,” she says. “It was super important to me that we make the collection sustainable, so we used only upcycled denim from old stock.”

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