Under Armour has unveiled the brand's first collection of apparel that was made in the United States.
Courtesy of Under Armour

Athletic brands are tinkering with new manufacturing processes.

By John Kell
January 30, 2017

Under Armour is adding a new logo to some of the company’s clothes: “Made in America.”

The second largest U.S. sports brand on Monday debuted an initial line of apparel that was manufactured at the company’s new innovation center in Baltimore. The first line features just 2,000 units—$120 leggings and $50 bras—under a collection called Arris Project. Longer-term, Under Armour uaa has committed to designing and manufacturing more apparel and footwear out of the company’s UA Lighthouse, which is a 35,000-square-foot facility that opened last year.

While the broader sports industry makes a vast majority of goods in markets abroad—mostly in Asian nations—Under Armour and other athletic brands are beginning to experiment with U.S. manufacturing, often by tinkering with limited run collections to test both the process and the prices that customers are willing to pay for domestic goods. Often times, the manufacturing processes that are being utilized in the U.S. are new technologies that aim to disrupt decades-old processes to make shirts and shoes. Local manufacturing, executive argue, can be competitive as they can make items at a tighter timeline and for a local audience.

“We call [it] local-for-local manufacturing,” said Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank during his CES keynote presentation. “Because if we going to do that we should bring jobs back—not just to America—but tightening our supply chains around the world.”

Plank—who has vowed to add more jobs in Baltimore where the company is based—is a notable voice in the manufacturing world. He is one of the executives President Donald Trump has named to assist in a manufacturing jobs initiative that aims for best practices to bring jobs back to the U.S.

Under Armour isn’t the only sports brand that is experimenting with U.S.-made processes. Adidas last year announced plans to build a more than 74,000-square-foot production factory that would focus on running footwear. It is expected to be fully functional in the second half of 2017 with initial targeted production of 50,000 pairs of shoes this year. Reebok, a sibling brand to Adidas, is also bringing some manufacturing capabilities stateside as it recently unveiled plans to open a new manufacturing lab that relies on futuristic liquid material and 3D drawing.

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