The United Parcel Service, or UPS, is now the official logistics partner of New York Fashion Week: The Shows. And to kick off its NYFW endeavors, the shipping company is also presenting an apparel collection alongside In The Blk, a nonprofit committed to supporting up-and-coming Black fashion brands.
Designed with inspiration from small- and medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, the 14-piece capsule features T-shirts, hoodies, long-sleeves, hats, backpacks, wireless speakers, a multitool, and other homeware. The apparel “has nothing to do with deliveries,” according to the company’s Instagram, with details including “Equipment for Professionals” and “Be Unstoppable” messaging and industrial-like graphics.
Thinking smaller — These small- and medium-sized businesses, according to UPS’s chief marketing officer Kevin Warren, are the company’s most profitable customer segment. It also has these organizations to thank for its strong performance in 2021, due in part to the influx of new brands and businesses that launched during the pandemic.
Black-owned businesses were among the most impacted because of the virus, which prompted the UPS to expand its Be Unstoppable program, an initiative that supports diverse SMBs in their efforts to compete against larger corporations. More than half a million dollars were raised for minority-owned businesses through the program’s extension, Proudly Unstoppable, and Serena Williams and J Balvin are among the celebs who have promoted UPS’ initiatives.
The company’s Instagram post is littered with comments expressing distaste for the collection, including one reading, “Yes more gear is what I need to keep my mind off of never being at home with my family.” and another saying, “How can you post this after cutting preloaders wages.” While it may take time to separate from a negative reputation, highlighting minorities with funding and campaigns is actually a positive effort from UPS.
Signed, sealed, delivered — Proceeds from the upcoming collection will benefit In the Blk, and an additional $50,000 will be donated by UPS to Black entrepreneurs. The capsule is set to debut on February 13 at Spring Studios during New York Fashion Week alongside three emerging Black designers. Vans and Nike have already tapped into mail delivery collabs, but UPS is doing its first collection on its own terms.