UPS Delivers Fashion’s Future

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What does UPS and high fashion have in common? Zilch. Duh!? Not so fast! 

UPS the world’s largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services is determined to change the nation’s view and particularly that of the fashion industry of it being only a domestic delivery company. Last year, it offered $25,000 scholarship monies to students at NY’s Fashion Institute of Technology. This year, the company joined forces with 7th on Sixth to exclusively showcase emerging designers, in the tents, at Olympus Fashion Week Spring 2006.

To show in the tents typically costs $40,000 to $100,000, if not more. With these astronomical amounts, emerging fashion designers simply cannot compete. That’s where UPS comes in. It invited emerging fashion designers to compete for one of ten spots to show their collections at its own first ever UPS Hub. The response was an overwhelming 300 applicants for the limited spots. Like the reality T.V. show “Project Runwayâ€?, UPS enlisted the help of industry professionals from Vogue, 7th on Sixth, CFDA, Parsons and the Fashion Group International to narrow the competition to ten finalists.  In the end, Project Alabama, Sandoval, Tomer, Abaette, Ashish N Soni, Doo. Ri, Gary Graham, Mary Ping, Mathew Ernest and Willow won the privileged opportunity to show their collections as well as impress the fashion press, buyers, retailers and the public with their creative collections and the next trendy must have.

What’s in it for UPS? Hmmmmm. . . . beaucoup d’argent? Qui! Who would’ve tonk it?
The clothing apparel industry is a multibillion dollar business averaging $298 billion dollars in the U.S. alone. Also, with the demand in Europe and Asia for U.S. clothing/Western looks and the reduced trade barriers to countries such as Japan, Canada and Mexico, numerous U.S. designers are establishing sales outlets in other countries; as they realize the critical success of their clothing businesses ultimately hinges on the ability to expand globally. This also necessarily entails the use of international shipping services that is reliable and versatile, like the little black dress? UPS clearly recognizes the huge potential for mucho dinero once it gains the loyalty of the new generation of fashion designers at the onset of their careers.

John Flick, Director of Public Relations for UPS International and the brainchild behind the collaboration is humble and quite contained in expressing his opinion on the significance of this collaboration. He says, he “hopes when [these] designers have shipping needs they’ll think of us and come to us.�

Flick, explains that the company’s goals are three prong: 1) “showcase international capabilities�— as UPS delivers internationally via air, ground and sea; 2) “market to the textile industry�--- with a particular focus on India as a major textile industry and 3) “reposition the brand� as more than just a domestic company.

The company seems to be gaining major strides. The ten designers this year not only displayed their talents but also had favorable sound bites of loyalty for the giant delivery company. Natalie Chanin one of the designers of Project Alabama a label based in Alabama says, “We would never be able to do our business where we are without UPS. We love the sound of that truck pulling up everyday. UPS brown means books and beads and love letters and fabrics and threads and music and so much more!� As UPS delivers “fashion’s future� emerging designers it might very well come to be equated by fashion designers and the industry at large as “reliable and versatile as the little black dress.�

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