At the start of 2020, Under Armour had many plans in place, including the introduction of innovative new products to expand its broad offering of athletic apparel and footwear designed to enhance the performance of athletes around the globe. What the Under Armour team could never have imagined was that they would soon be designing and supplying personal protective equipment (PPE) to help local area healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19.
It all began in March when the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) contacted Under Armour to ask for help in meeting a critical shortage of face masks. The list of healthcare facilities in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area requesting help from Under Armour quickly grew to include the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore; LifeBridge, a regional healthcare organization based in Baltimore; and Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, to name just a few. And the requests were expanded to include isolation gowns.
“Beginning in March, requests from Baltimore area hospitals came pouring in. We quickly recommissioned Lighthouse, our well-equipped Design Center in Baltimore, to design a one-piece, no-sew origami mask and then supply it by the millions,” said Randy Harward, SVP of Material and Manufacturing Innovation at Under Armour. “Now, as our factory partners have come back online, and with DuPont’s help with material supply, we have pivoted to producing millions of isolation gowns for the Washington, D.C. and Maryland region.”
"Under Armour is based in Baltimore, Md., and the company started here 24 years ago. Taking care of our hometown is important to us. Whatever we can do to help the region, we want to do it.”
Developing the isolation gowns was a collaborative process that involved working with other companies, competitors and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to crowdsource the concepts and designs. Under Armour then shared its final gown designs openly to enable quick production.
When Under Armour became aware of the DuPont #TyvekTogether program, it began manufacturing its isolation gowns with the new Tyvek® 1222A fabric that DuPont developed specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“At DuPont, supporting heroes on the front lines of this global pandemic is our priority and we are proud to partner with Under Armour as they focus on meeting the critical PPE needs of their hometown heroes,” said John Richard, Vice President and General Manager of DuPont Safety. “We commend Under Armour for acting swiftly to pivot production from innovative athletic wear to protective masks and gowns during these unprecedented times, and for their commitment to deliver millions of these PPE items where they are needed most.”
Just three months after receiving that first request for help meeting a mask shortage, Under Armour had delivered 4,640,050 of its origami masks and the first of many weekly orders of 400,000 isolation gowns. In total, Under Armour has made a commitment to deliver 3.8 million isolation gowns over the next few months to help hospitals in the region meet their current supply needs and build up their stockpiles for future needs.
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