Earlier this week, the letters in UPS took on a new meaning: “Unidos Para Siempre,” or, in English, “United Forever.”
For this year’s New York Fashion Week and in time for the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, the shipping company partnered with Angelo Baque, clothing designer and founder of streetwear brand Awake NY, to release a limited-edition collection titled “Unidos Para Siempre.” The collection includes a jacket, hoodie, bucket hat and t-shirt, each adorned with the UPS and Awake NY logos.
UPS put these items up for sale at a pop-up shop a few blocks from the NYFW venue called “La Bodega Baque,” where other Latinx-owned small businesses also had products, art and clothing displayed.
This clothing collection is the second that UPS has launched, following a limited-edition apparel line designed by The Martin Agency that the brand released during last year’s NYFW. That collection, along with "Unidos Para Siempre," are part of UPS’s "Proudly Unstoppable" campaign, which started during the pandemic to provide grants to small businesses owned by people of color. Through this initiative, UPS has provided more than $1 million in grants and partnerships, according to a release from the brand.
The brand chose to partner with Awake NY to both support a Latinx designer and draw attention to the fact that only 4% of the most influential figures in the fashion industry are Latinx, according to the 2021 BoF 500, an annual index of major players in fashion. To further uplift Latinx designers, proceeds from the "Unidos Para Siempre" collection will go to the High School of Fashion Industries in New York City.
“UPS is focused on supporting causes and giving back to the community in a way that will impact them in the long run, whether it’s with grants to support small businesses or giving [them] a space where they usually wouldn’t have the opportunity to be,” said Rique Santiago, creative director of the Martin Agency, which partnered with UPS and Awake NY on the collection. “When we saw … the lack of funding and visible leadership for the [Latinx] community in the fashion industry, we knew we needed to do something different. We decided that investing in the future of Latinx fashion designers was a way to impact in a big way.”
Baque introduced the idea of creating a pop-up experience reminiscent of a traditional bodega, which he described as “a place for the community to gather and grow together, not only to buy stuff and leave in seconds,” according to Santiago. La Bodega Baque received roughly 1,350 visitors across the three days it was open to the public and quickly sold out of the items from the Unidos Para Siempre collection, according to Katherine Sheehan, director of brand communications at the Martin Agency.
In addition to the clothing collection and pop-up experience, UPS also hosted a panel conversation called “Cultivating the Future for Latinx Creators” at Spring Studios, the NYFW venue. Karla Martinez de Salas, editor-in-chief of Vogue Mexico and Latin America, moderated the discussion, where panelists—including Baque; up-and-coming designers Angelo Daniel Buezo and Thermal Taveras; and Carlos Cueto, UPS senior manager of digital commerce—spoke on the necessity of increasing the representation of the Latinx community in fashion.
The importance of community formed the heart of the campaign, with a map of North and South America printed on the jacket and bucket hat reflecting the concept of uniting the Latinx community, ”which is extremely large, diverse, and often fragmented,” Santiago said.
“We know Latinx artists and creators are unstoppable, particularly when given access and support to reach their full potential, and we couldn’t think of a better way to uplift these next-generation entrepreneurs than on the global stage of New York Fashion Week,” UPS CMO Kevin Warren said.
The UPS line was just one of a pair of brand "fashion launches" we saw this week. NerdWallet also debuted its quirky "Inflashion" collection from Deutsch LA and designer Jack Irving to bring consumers money advice in a fresh away.