Under Armour Design Manager Explains Decision-Making Behind Uniform Decisions
Under Armour Senior On-Field Senior Design Manager Adam Clement recently discussed the "controversial flag-based design" football uniforms for the Univ. of Maryland in a two-part Q&A with Paul Lukas of ESPN.com. Below is an excerpt from the Q&A.
Q: When we were kids growing up, a team had two, maybe three uniforms -- home, road, and alternate. Now a team like Maryland can wear a different uniform almost every week. ... Overall, is this a good thing or a bad thing, and why?
Clement: I think it's a little of both. It's exciting, because it allows teams to explore and express themselves in ways they wouldn't normally have done. It helps garner interest from younger fans, and it can attract student-athletes. But at the same time, I respect people who say it's a bad thing, because there are lots of people who grew up seeing these teams with specific colors and specific looks.
Q: You've worked with Auburn. Obviously, they're a more traditional school, at least in terms of football, and they've chosen to stick with their classic look. I know you guys have pitched them several modern designs, which they've turned down. Have you worked on those, and is that frustrating when a team wants to stick with what it already has?
Clement: In some respects, it can be refreshing when a team has so much tradition that it wants to stick with that, and that's perfectly OK with us. As a brand that wants to be progressive, we're always going to be offering those options to all of our universities, but it's entirely up to them.
Q: How closely do you keep tabs on what Nike, adidas and the other companies are doing?
Clement: I think it's fair to say that everyone in this industry is very up-to-date on what everyone else is doing -- in part because it's a business, but also because we're all passionate about it.
Q: Give me a hint of something juicy that's in the pipeline.
Clement: We have something special in store for the University of South Florida. That's a program that we believe is on the upswing, and they've decided that they want to be progressive, so we have something special in store. It's not for every day, but it's special. You'll see it within the next 12 months (ESPN.com, 12/13).
Q: The common perception is that [UA President, Chair & CEO Kevin] Plank, Under Armour and Maryland are essentially copying Phil Knight, Nike and Oregon, in terms of the relationship between the company and its founder to the founder's alma mater and the use of outrageous design for that school. How do you feel about that?
Clement: I understand why people would feel that way, since Kevin attended Maryland and Phil Knight attended Oregon. But it's not a copycat thing. Kevin wants us to do the best we can with every school. But he was no more involved with the Maryland design than he was with, say, the Northwestern design that we did for this season. So I understand why that perception exists, but that's not how it works (ESPN.com, 12/12).