timberland pro 105 How Under Armour wrote the next chapter for UCLA
UCLA Store employee Ryan Smith stocks the store with UCLA/Under Armour all new apparel in Los Angeles Wednesday, July 5, 2017. On July 1, UCLA officially transitioned from Adidas to Under Armour. (Photo by Thomas R. Over lunch on May 24, 2016, every UCLA head coach and a handful of senior athletic department staffers met with executives from a Baltimore based apparel company.
Only hours before, the news had become official: UCLA inked a record breaking $280 million shoe and apparel deal with Under Armour.
Scattered among five round tables, eight to a table, coaches and administrators offered their suggestions for the future of the UCLA brand. How might an East Coast company come to Westwood and elevate the image of UCLA above its current standing?
The answer evolved over the next 13 months between UCLA announcement of the richest apparel deal in college sports and the beginning of the 15 year partnership on July 1.
Finding the story
Upon entering UCLA Hall of Fame, Adam Clement was awestruck by the sight of 113 national championship trophies. In that moment, he truly understood UCLA motto made here. school brings us something different, gives us something different to tell, but at UCLA, it championships, said Clement, the senior creative director of team sports at Under Armour.
Clement and a team of seven Under Armour designers toured the UCLA campus well before pitching their story to UCLA. They saw the buildings, studied the history and analyzed the school most iconic figures from John Wooden to Jackie Robinson to Arthur Ashe.
What they saw was a beautiful campus one of the most beautiful they have ever toured and a brilliant athletic legacy mired in inconsistent branding.
Navy blue, light blue, powder blue, shimmery gold and bright yellow. Script logos with no tail, with a skinny tail, with a larger tail filled with text. UCLA had nearly as many representations as it did national championships.
was worse than we even imagined as far as how different we looked across all the different sports, said Josh Rebholz, UCLA senior associate athletic director for external relations.
In its vision for a new UCLA, Under Armour sought to unify the athletic department behind a central story.
Clement storytelling tool is the UCLA stripe, which will be on uniforms across all UCLA sports. Red Sanders introduced the famous stripe to the football uniforms in 1949. When Clement sees the mark, he inspired by a quote he found on the school website: UCLA moves onward, we leverage our history to define our future. deconstructs the UCLA stripe as three parallel stripes, all touching. The outside two,
which are the same color, represent the past and present. The middle stripe is of another color. It represents the future, guided by the other two.
understanding that lots of great things have happened before Under Armour at UCLA and we just a chapter, Clement said. just happy to be part of the next phase of this story. in the middle
Valorie Kondos Field has been part of UCLA story for 34 years. The gymnastics coach believes fiercely in the school reputation for innovation and illustrates that value with her team through unique floor choreography and daring leotard designs.
UCLA leotards, which Kondos Field designs with independent contractor Candy Dengrove, have been backless. They had lace. They even had fishnet. But they have not had a stripe.
The UCLA gymnastics look is provocative elegance. It is not collegiate with the straightforward Powderkeg Blue, Westwood Gold and UCLA stripe. That for the other sports.
you put all the uniforms together, including a leotard, you can tell they all from the same family. That going to be hard with a leotard, Kondos Field said last week while waiting to see new samples. are no sparkles on any other team. she heard of Clement interpretation of the UCLA stripe and Under Armour vision for the athletic department, Kondos Field was utterly inspired. It was the best presentation she ever seen. She proclaimed mid presentation that she wanted to go home immediately, pull all of her blue and gold gear out of her closet and flaunt it proudly.
She believes in this next chapter of UCLA. She just doesn want to turn the page completely.
is going to be a hard vision to marry this first year, Kondos Field said. think the biggest challenge will be maintaining that elegant, artistic look with an athletic company. the test
For Jorge Salcedo, it wasn as much about look as it was about feel. It the feeling of soccer cleats on his players feet, of the ball as it being kicked through the air, of a jersey on a hot day.
Under Armour has met each challenge so far.
Since May, the UCLA men soccer head coach and his team have come to grips with replacing Adidas, the premier soccer retailer in the world, with Under Armour, a relatively new company in the sport.
Salcedo, who wore Adidas for the Bruins when he kicked the winning penalty kick after four overtimes against Rutgers in 1990 NCAA championship game, said he was won over by CEO Kevin Plank enthusiasm and commitment to UCLA. His players were won over by the recent shipment of gear that passed their stringent quality tests.
guys are very pleasantly surprised and happy with what they seen, all the way from the shoes to the uniforms to the training gear, Salcedo said.
When evaluating the new equipment, Salcedo was impressed by the company soccer ball. It felt high end with the correct weight that allowed consistent flight and bounce. The jerseys are constructed for optimal performance, absorbing sweat without getting heavy.
The process, much like the rest of the athletic department transition, took months and finished in the nick of time. Salcedo was still picking out embroidery for the new jerseys last Wednesday,
three days before the apparel deal official start.