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Under Armour will collaborate on a new line of footwear and apparel products with photographer and activist Devin Allen in celebration of Black History Month.
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“This is about the story of real people, how we capture their lives and give them the visibility that they
deserve,” Under Armour chief people and administrative officer Tchernavia Rocker said in a statement. “We at Under Armour empower those who strive for more, and when I think about the city of Baltimore and the youth of
Baltimore, it’s a manifestation of that purpose.”
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Allen, a Baltimore native, first picked up a camera to document the emotion, heartache, and anger in the streets in the wake of Freddie Gray's death in 2015. Since that moment, Allen's work has been featured on two TIME Magazine covers and has led to a fellowship with the Gordon Parks Foundation, a partnership with Leica cameras, and over 150,000 followers on Instagram.
The UNDR ARMR x DVNLLN collection is a love letter to Allen's hometown, capturing Baltimore's “grit, grime, and spirit of resilience" in a minimalist color palette, with textures and materials “echoing the streets and Allen’s photography.”
"I wanted people from places like Baltimore, Oakland, Chicago, and Detroit to be proud of their cities," Allen said in a statement. "Because our communities have so much to offer, so much to celebrate. Photography can open doors. By teaching kids how to document the world, express themselves, and capture what they see, we can strengthen their futures through art."
According to Footwear News, the collection will feature new-look versions of the Curry 8, UA Hovr Phantom 2, UA Forge RC and UA Spawn sneakers as well as several graphic t-shirts and hoodies in both youth and adult sizing.
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The collection has been developed over the past two years with input from Black Employees Achieving Together (BEAT), Under Armour's Black employee resource group.
"When I talk to teammates, there’s a level of excitement because they feel heard, seen, and empowered," Rocker added. "Not in a generic way, but in a way that says that my experiences as a Black teammate, as a Black citizen in this country, in this city are valuable, while sharing that perspective safely."
BEAT said it hopes this new product line will "change the narrative."
"Under Armour has committed to taking action in our stand for equality. BEAT will continue to advocate for our teammates and hold ourselves accountable to real and meaningful progress," the group added. "We stand in solidarity with our Black teammates, athletes, and communities because we know we matter. We always have. Our community deserves more – more healing, more progress, more joy- and we empower those who strive for more."
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The UNDR ARMR x DVNLLN collection will be available for purchase at UA.com and Under Armour's brand houses across North America beginning Feb. 5.
All proceeds from the product line will help support Wide Angle Youth Media, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that emphasizes and encourages arts education for youth. A portion will also go towards Noisy Tenants, a community-focused production agency that will walk local youth through the creative process, from idea to completion, of creating a mural which will represent Baltimore youth voices near Oriole Park.
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The move comes as Under Armour has been undergoing a restructuring in response to the coronavirus pandemic's impact on business, which resulted in layoffs of 600 employees in September. In addition, Under Armour said in October that it would sell its MyFitnessPal platform, acquired in 2015, for about $345 million and severed a collegiate sponsorship with UCLA in August.
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