BALTIMORE — Two decades from now, women’s basketball players might bound across plexiglass, LED-powered courts wearing high-tech, compression-legging uniforms that monitor health and won’t clog landfills.
Fans at games in 2042 might wear virtual reality headsets that appear to add color and graphics to otherwise monotone uniforms. And special jackets could help players’ muscles recover more quickly after games.
The ideas, developed by four Under Armour summer interns during a diversity initiative the brand launched in June, remain highly conceptual.
But then again, the futuristic designs are not so far-fetched, said Lisa Collier, Under Amour’s chief product officer since April 2020.
“I think the reality is, based on what we see happening in the world, what they showed us is not too far off,” Collier, a veteran of brands such as NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans), Levi Strauss & Co., Dockers and The Limited, said Thursday. “I think there’s a big reality there, and it’s sooner than we think.”
Collier was on hand Thursday at the Under Armour Brand House store in downtown Baltimore’s Harbor East for an unveiling of the interns’ basketball uniform prototypes.
The college students, chosen from thousands of applicants, were the first to take part in the new Blk FUTR program, designed to empower and develop Black creative talent. They were asked to design women’s basketball uniforms for the future, with prototypes to be displayed at the Brand House store.
During Thursday’s presentation, Collier said the new program fits the Baltimore-based sports brand’s goal of being innovative and offering solutions to athletes and it’s one of several new diversity programs the brand has launched in recent years. The company debuted a career preparation program at Morgan State University earlier this year in an effort to attract a more diverse workforce.
Blk FUTR will “help Under Armour become a place where future young talent wants to come work, because we open up the pathways to have that happen in the early stage of people’s careers,” Collier said.
Reggie Wilson, a senior footwear designer for Under Armour’s basketball/Curry category and a Baltimore native, came up with the idea for the program and pitched it to Collier. The acronym FUTR, which stands for For Us To Rise, had been created for Under Armour’s basketball category and used in the Flow FUTR line of basketball shoes.