If you want to see what you look like standing in the Ravens’ training facility, you don’t need to go to the Ravens’ training facility. You can go to the Under Armour Brand House, the Baltimore-based company’s flagship store that opened Feb. 16.
Panoramic photos cover the walls of the dressing rooms, so when customers try on outfits, the mirrors create the illusion that they’re posing at the NFL team’s hangout, the Inner Harbor or a nearby gym. It’s just one of the ways the sports apparel company is emphasizing its local bona fides with the 6,000-square-foot showroom at 700 S. President Street, in the city’s swanky Harbor East neighborhood.
The Baltimore pride starts outside, where shoppers walk by a massive photo of Ray Lewis on the loading dock. Inside a front window, a mannequin sports a T-shirt with the Natty Boh beer guy. Henry Stafford, Under Armour’s senior vice president of apparel, accessories and outdoor, notes that the nod to Baltimore’s favorite drink is made of performance wicking fabric.
“Our people have been dying to do this,” he says of the store’s racks of Baltimore-centric clothing. Shirts give shout-outs to Old Bay Seasoning, the local term of endearment (Hon!) and Charm City neighborhoods: Federal Hill, Hampden, Fells Point.
Tourists will likely be drawn to the other exclusives, such as the Alter Ego shirts (inspired by iconic superhero costumes) and certain sock styles. “There’s more novelty in socks here than anywhere else in the world,” Stafford says.
The biggest draw, however, has to be the chance to see Armour39 ($150). The fitness monitoring chest strap — available for pre-sale and shipping in April — calculates heart rate, calorie burn, intensity and a metric called “WILLpower” that measures how hard the wearer is working on a scale of 0 to 10.
“When you come here, you’ll see innovations,” Stafford says.
You’ll also see the full range of Under Armour products, including women’s and footwear, two parts of the business the company has beefed up in recent years. Guys will get introduced to a broader array of everyday styles that aren’t necessarily just for exercise.
“We’re going to teach athletes how to dress,” says Stafford, noting that the employees are accomplished athletes who can figure out the exact outfits to recommend based on a customer’s lifestyle. If a woman is headed to cycling classes, she needs fabrics built for sweat but not a high-impact sports bra. A guy planning to run in bad weather will want waterproof gear.
Shoppers who’ve brought a team along don’t need to worry about abandoning friends while they try new looks — the dressing room waiting areas are equipped with free bottled water and electrical outlets for charging phones.
But the best place to take a load off is smack in the middle of store, which is lined with footwear “thrones.” Stafford says the leather seats were inspired by performance racecars and the chairs in NFL locker rooms. Now that’s so Ravens.
Take your shoes for a spin with the UA Run Club, which meets Tuesdays at 6 p.m., Thursdays at 6:30 a.m. and Sundays at 8 a.m. The store also lets you “Outfit Your Workout”: Spend $75 or more on a Wednesday and you’ll get a pass for a free fitness class at a nearby partner gym.