Under Armour Appoints John Varvatos Chief Design Officer


In its latest step to reinvigorate its brand, Under Armour has appointed John Varvatos its new chief design officer, effective Sept. 11.

The fashion veteran, who began consulting for the Baltimore-based activewear label earlier this year, will be charged with overseeing the company’s design direction and will head up its studios in New York, Baltimore and Portland, Oregon. He will work with Under Armour’s product team to blend “performance and style” in the company’s apparel, footwear and accessories, chief executive Stephanie Linnartz said in a statement.

It won’t be Under Armour’s first attempt to inject more fashion into its offering. In 2016, the company introduced a line with designer Tim Coppens that failed to catch on with its core customers, who looked to it primarily for performance products. By 2019 Under Armour said it would double down on performance as it sought to recapture the rapid growth that propelled it through the late 2000s and early 2010s, once making it look like a contender to bigger players such as Adidas and Nike.

More recently the company has made a number of changes as it looks to reignite its growth. In February, Linnartz stepped into the role of chief executive, succeeding Patrik Frisk, who departed in the middle of 2022. This June it announced more shifts in its executive leadership.

Under Armour’s sales grew 3 percent in the 12 months through March 31, 2023, but it has struggled to maintain that momentum. Sales declined 2 percent in the recent quarter.

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