When Under Armour’s founder, Kevin Plank, started the company from his grandmother’s basement he focused on performance. Under Armour’s original product was sweat-wicking undershirts for football players. At that time, people who wore Under Armour did so because they wanted anything that could give them an edge on the field. The idea that Plank’s creation would one day grace billboards in the style capital of the world, New York City was an unthinkable proposition.
As the company grew, Kevin Plank knew that if he was going to be competitive in the activewear market, his company would need to focus on fashion as well as function. Plank did just this and the brand began to release clothes shoes, and accessories that were not just for the field. The strategy had some success, but now Kevin Plank believes that Under Armour should re-commit itself to performance and produce clothes for athletes and other active people.
Plank’s reasoning behind this strategy was that Under Armour was born on the field and that is where they set themselves apart from other apparel companies. This dedication to performance promises to bring Under Armour to new heights. The company was tapped to design technical spacewear for use on Virgin Galactic’s maiden voyage as well as any other of the company’s future trips to space. Additionally, the technology and designs that come from this project will also be available to consumers.
Another indication of Under Armour’s commitment to performance is their partnership with NBA superstar Steph Curry to produce on the court basketball shoes. Like all of Under Armour’s products, these shoes are designed to improve performance for basketball players.
Even as the leadership at Under Armour changes, their commitment to high performance athletic wear remains. Despite their new strategy, the company is not looking to abandon fashion altogether. Kevin Plank has stated that a great looking product is “table stakes”. This indicates that they realize even apparel that is made for performance must also look good to be successful, as well as for those New York billboards.