By Jessica Iannetta | Baltimore Business Journal
Under Armour Inc. has partnered with local photographer and activist Devin Allen to launch a limited edition apparel and footwear collection that celebrates Black culture through sports and the company’s hometown of Baltimore.
The UNDR ARMR X DVNLLN line is a “love letter from Baltimore, for Baltimore” as seen through Allen’s photography and was released to coincide with Black History Month, according to a release from the company. The collection, which includes youth and adult apparel as well as youth, men’s and women’s footwear, became available on Under Armour’s website and in the company’s Brand House stores — including the Harbor East location — beginning in early February.
The collection has been in the works for two years and was supported at Under Armour though its employee resource group Black Employees Achieving Together (BEAT). As part of the launch, Under Armour is also expanding its partnership with Baltimore nonprofit Wide Angle Youth Media to support its youth development programming and get more cameras into kids’ hands. Additionally, the company announced a new partnership with Noisy Tenants, a community-focused production agency that will work with local kids to create a mural near Oriole Park.
Allen’s photography not only inspired the collection but many of the items in the line feature his photos of Baltimore youth athletes that convey stories of “resilience, perseverance and triumphs that inspire optimism for a better future,” according to the company. The designs also draw inspiration from the city itself and in particular its “grit, grime, and spirit of resilience with a minimalist color palette, textures and materials echoing the streets and Allen’s photography.”
A Baltimore native, Allen — who also works as a photographer for Under Armour — first garnered national attention in 2015 when his photograph of racial justice protests in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, who died of severe injuries sustained while in police custody, was featured on the cover of TIME magazine. (He landed a second TIME cover image this past June.) Since then, he has continued to be active in Baltimore and is focused on empowering young people to use photography to tell their stories.
“I wanted people from places like Baltimore, Oakland, Chicago and Detroit to be proud of their cities. Because our communities have so much to offer, so much to celebrate,” Allen said in a statement. “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.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Under Armour