Baltimore-based Under Armour unveiled its first American-made apparel line yesterday.
The first products comprise the female-tailored Arris Project, which were produced at UA’s Lighthouse manufacturing hub in Baltimore. These products include the UA Arris Sports Bra and UA Arris Leggings. They are priced at $50 and $120, respectively.
Last summer, the clothing giant pledged to manufacture its clothing here in the United States. Why? To be consistent and to help boost the troubled city of Baltimore. UA’s Lighthouse was unveiled to the public last June. It is a 35,000-square foot manufacturing and design center inside City Garage, which used to house South Baltimore’s bus garage. Now it’s a space being used by entrepreneurs. How awesome this that? Here’s more on UA’s Lighthouse:
UA Lighthouse will allow the company’s designers and technicians — donned in white lab coats — to work side-by-side on testing new products. The space includes high-tech equipment and robotics for 3-D design and body scanning, 3-D printing and creating prototypes and pilot lines for apparel and footwear.
The Made In America movement has been in the making for several years. Domestic goddess Martha Stewart hosts an annual conference each year to spotlight and honor American-made products. Budweiser held its fifth annual Made-In-America festival in Philadelphia last fall that attracted over 130,000 people and generated $10 million in revenue. Forbes has more on this burgeoning market:
According to the Department of Commerce, between 2009 and 2014, manufacturing in the U.S. grew 45%, adding around 646,000 manufacturing jobs. However, the push to make products in America has continued. According to the Alliance for American Manufacturing, if every American committed to spending $64 on American made products, it would create 200,000 jobs, and if contractors increased the use of American-made materials by 5%, it would create an additional 200,000 jobs. Furthermore, a Consumer Reports survey found that 80% of Americans would prefer to buy an American-made product, and over 60% say they would even pay 10% more for it. An attractive market exists for Made in America products.
Given UA’s interest to manufacture here in the U.S. more, its CEO Kevin Plank was recently named to the board of President Trump’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative (which was announced last Friday). He is one of 28 CEOs involved in this initiative. Below are the names of the CEOs involved:
The initial list of business leaders assisting with the initiative include Liveris, Harris Corporation’s Bill Brown, Dell’s Michael Dell, Nucor’s John Ferriola, Whirlpool’s Jeff Fettig, Ford’s Mark Fields, Ken Frazier of Merck & Co., Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson, Greg Hayes of United Technologies Corp., Lockheed Martin CEO Marilynn Hewson, GE’s Jeff Immelt, Jim Kamsickas of Dana Inc, Arconic CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, Intel’s Brian Krzanich, Rich Kyle of The Timken company, AFL-CIO’s Thea Lee and Richard Tumka, U.S. Steel CEP Mario Longhi, the Campbell Soup Company’s Denise Morrison, Boeing president Dennis Muilenburg, Elon Musk, Caterpillar’s Doug Oberhelman, Scott Paul from the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, Michael Polk of Newell Brands, Mark Sutton of International Paper, 3M’s Inge Thulin and Corning CEO Wendell Weeks.
Under Armour currently has a revenue of $4.7 billion and employs 13,400 people.
The sporting brand came under fire last year for firing fitness athlete and hunter Sarah Bowmar after her husband (legally) speared a bear in Alberta, Canada. The company felt the hunting method was outside of bounds. Many hunters retaliated by disowning their UA garments or disassociating from the company.
In spite of this ill-fated move, UA has arguably bounced back and should be commended for trying to reinvigorate American manufacturing. If you can and are able, support UA’s new American-made line! I totally would if I could afford it.