UPS is the latest to tap into the fashion drop craze as they debuted their first ever, limited-edition merch collection, Be Unstoppable. The collection is an extension of UPS’s Proudly Unstoppable initiative, which aims to provide visibility and support for minority-owned small businesses. We’re noticing and tracking a trend toward branded wearables this year, so we shared the collection across our agency to crowdsource opinions about the line’s design—here’s what our team had to say:
The design for this collection DELIVERS (pun intended). It reaches a new audience since it’s very modern—especially for UPS—and while it’s using a lot of trendy iconography, it still feels ownable with the badge being included. I think the design is effective in its choice to primarily use the colors black and brown, its photography that includes mostly minority models, and its super positive and bold tagline.
Ily Phelps, Senior Designer
The pieces themselves hit as a solid “corporate streetwear” collection. Solid design and interesting use of the service mark. I can see UPS employees and store franchise owners being excited to update their swag with these pieces.
However, it doesn’t quite deliver as stand-alone fashion or as support for minority-owned businesses. The UPS logo and their iconography is much more prominent than “be unstoppable,” implying that UPS, not the wearer, is unstoppable. And it’s confusing branding that Big Brown would go basic black. The collection is inspired by and pays homage to Black artists and designers? Imagine if it were created by Black artists and designers. If the pieces were made by small manufacturers. That would be a collection worth waiting for the drop.
Karla Jackson, Associate Creative Director
Seeing that this collection was “inspired” by small businesses is great, but it makes me wonder if the collection was actually designed by Black designers. If not, that feels like a big misstep. I would also be interested to know if UPS has been transparent in their DEI efforts at their company holistically or if this is a one time effort. I think this collection would have benefitted by showing how it is one part of a multilayered effort for systemic change and support to the Black community.
On another note, it does feel like UPS supporting Black designers through InTheBlk is relevant to what they actually do as a company—delivering the end products of those very designers.
Beck, Account Executive
Hearts and minds were in the exact right place when concepting this. While I personally love the design (and the influence of Virgil Abloh’s “Off White” is quite clear) the brutalist industrial aesthetic just seems to be everywhere today.
While many of the executions are great, I’m abruptly reminded that it was made by UPS when I see the logo alone slapped on a water bottle or flat bill hat. I wish UPS would have been incorporated in with the other type rather that the sleek, curved logo. I applaud the thinking and hope it’s wildly successful in its mission to support In The Blk, but UPS in the fashion world just seems a bit off.
Drew Beamer, Associate Creative Director
Props to the creative team for securing talent like Ugo Mozie and Christian Cody, the collection’s main stylist and photographer. But if there were additional Black creators involved with the line, there wasn’t enough context given there.
I applaud that the pieces are functional and made with the common man in mind, but I’m not sure the name Unstoppable really resonates with this project. It’s mentioned that the line was inspired by small businesses drive to be unstoppable. However the main objective is to help black designers in the fashion industry, utilizing an organization InTheBlk. I just feel this could be more connected for the consumer.
Biaunca Edwards, Associate Creative Director