Under Armour and Virgin Galactic unveil spacesuits
There was a real intergalactic vibe in Westchester, New York on Wednesday morning for the official unveiling of Under Armour’s new spacesuits, made to clothe tourists traveling to space on a Virgin Galactic flight. The marketers first announced their collaboration on the suits earlier this year. Sir Richard Branson, Virgin’s founder, noted that the products have been in design for more than two years.
At the event, which was held at an indoor skydiving arena, sky dancers showcased the flexibility of the blue spacesuits by dancing to music that included Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Branson, wearing his own personalized suit, was in attendance.
The suit systems for travelers are made up of a base layer, spacesuit, footwear, training suit and a limited-edition jacket. The kits also have technical elements like a fabric that manages temperature, as well as personalization elements like an inside pocket where travelers can put pictures of their loved ones and a tab for each person’s mission statement about why he or she is going to space. In addition, spacesuits have a spot for a name badge and area to place country flags.
Virgin Galactic already has around 600 consumers signed up for the space voyages, which will begin next year. It costs roughly $250,000 per person, according to a spokeswoman.
Kevin Plank, CEO of Baltimore, Maryland-based Under Armour, noted that Under Armour innovations like its Hovr gravity-eliminating technology, has been incorporated into the uniforms, which are more pliable than traditional spacesuits “that are canvas and stiff to wear,” he noted. The suits utilize eight Under Armour technologies. “For the consumer, this same innovation in a space suit is available 100 yards that way in Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Plank said, gesturing to a nearby Dick’s store.
“It’s a landmark moment—this is a big deal for our brand to be involved,” Plank said, noting that the space collaboration is a “powerful tool for the brand.”
Under Armour, which has struggled with sales momentum in recent years, could use the lift. In its recent second quarter, the retailer reported net revenue that was essentially flat to a year-earlier at $1.2 billion, along with a 3 percent sales decline in North America. The brand said it expects 2019 sales to decline slightly.
On Wednesday, executives spoke about how space travelers could wear both the suits and accompanying jackets on earth as well as in space. Stephen Attenborourgh, commercial director of Virgin Galactic, said the brands plan to create versions of the suits that non-space traveling consumers can buy on their own. Plank noted that Virgin Galactic shirts are currently available for purchase on Under Armour’s website.