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Five Minutes with Adam Clement, Under Armour uniform designer

Adam Clement is senior creative director of team sports for Under Armour.
Adam Clement is senior creative director of team sports for Under Armour. (Courtesy of Under Armour)

Adam Clement still has the faded pad on which — beginning at age 7 — he sketched colorful designs for baseball stadiums and team uniforms.

The designs are notable for their detail. The fictitious stadiums are accompanied by outfield and foul territory dimensions. "Distance from home plate to back wall 59 feet," notes one sketch.

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The uniforms, which feature stars, pinstripes and original team logos, come with home and road versions, just as they do in Major League Baseball.

Thirty-one years later, Clement is still all about imagination and detail. As Under Armour's senior creative director of team sports, he and his co-workers design uniforms for a number of sports, including college football and basketball, as well as for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.

"I have the sketchbook in my office," Clement said. "It's what I still do today. I knew I wanted to be a baseball player, but that was never really going to happen."

Years ago, Clement traded his sketch pad for a mouse pad. "The design is all on a computer now," he said.

Clement designed the loud, multicolored University of Maryland "Pride" football uniforms that debuted in 2011 season and evoke the state flag. His specialty basketball uniform worn by the Northwestern University men in 2014 adopted pinstripes on the shorts (modeled after the Chicago Bulls) and depicted images of spaghetti (the team's traditional pregame meal) among other hand-drawn designs. He does extensive research on athletes and teams with the goal of fulfilling one of Under Armour's mantras: "Tell a great story."

For the Olympics, Baltimore-based Under Armour says it is working with 32 countries — including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain and Japan — on a wide range of sports. American gymnastics and boxing will be among the most visible.

Because gymnasts are judged individually, Clement said their sport poses a particular challenge. The athletes' look is part of their performance.

"There is a showiness for that sport that exists, and we have to respect that," he said. "We really wanted to focus on country pride. All of the [U.S. men's and women's] suits will be in versions of red, white and blue."

Because they compete in different events, gymnasts require more than one uniform. One uniform for the women will evoke Mary Lou Retton, the sport's all-around champion at the 1984 Games.

"Her famous leotard was white, and it had broad stripes and was asymmetrical," said Clement, adding that the asymmetrical look of one of this year's designs is a nod to the gold-medal winner.

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Hobbies: Baseball

Adam Clement

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Title: Senior creative director of team sports for Under Armour

Age: 38

Born: Queens, N.Y.

Residence: Baltimore

Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, James Madison University

Family: Wife, Brooke; children Tanner, 2, and Tatum, 4 weeks

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