Under Armour Monday announced it was releasing the company’s first collection of apparel made in the United States, at its Lighthouse facility in City Garage at Port Covington.
A women’s sports bra and legging set, called Arris Project, features an innovative material that cuts dry time in half. The initial run of 2,000 units, priced at $120 for the legging and $50 for the bra, are available for purchase starting today on UA.com/arris-collection.
The announcement comes at a time of increased pressure on companies to operate manufacturing facilities in the U.S., a particular challenge for the apparel and many other consumer industries. Their product costs are kept low to a large extent by relying on less expensive foreign manufacturers. The small size of the Arris Project run is dwarfed by the tens of millions of Under Armour products produced abroad.
Under Armour CEO and founder Kevin Plank has been asked to serve on a Trump task force asked to come up with plans to revitalize manufacturing in the U.S.
The UA Lighthouse, which opened in June 2016, is a 35,000 square-foot facility designed to be a model for the future of how footwear and apparel will be imagined and crafted, with both design and manufacturing under the same roof.
Kevin Haley, Under Armour’s president of innovation, said that the process for creating garments such as the bra and leggings would typically take 18 to 20 months. For the Baltimore-made pieces, though, it took just three months.
Haley said that’s because the Lighthouse setup has enabled the company to compress the creation process in several ways. By using 3D body scanners, Under Armour can figure out how a certain piece of clothing is going to fit and flatter a body without going the traditional route of producing a physical prototype.
The company said some 50 people worked on this particular garment collection, including design, manufacturing, marketing and other roles. Haley said the headcount of workers needed to create the products in Baltimore was “not all that different” from if they were made abroad.
Sarah Halzack of The Washington Post contributed to this story.