Last year the United States Postal Service (USPS) lost $15.9 billion dollars. The post office is scrambling to make changes that will allow it to continue operating. Last month they announced that Saturday mail delivery will end. There is also talk of closing thousands of post offices around the country.
However, the service cuts and closings might not provide enough savings to rescue the gigantic and antiquated agency that is burdened with bloated pension and healthcare obligations. So, the post office has had to look elsewhere for revenue and savings: the world of fashion.
Today (Feb 20th) is the anniversary of President George Washington signing the Postal Service Act. Yesterday we got the news that the United States Postal Service (USPS) was branching out and expanding their business. The plan? From the press release:
The Postal Service’s unofficial motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” serves as a backdrop for a licensing agreement the organization has signed with Cleveland-based fashion apparel company Wahconah Group, Inc. The agreement leverages Postal Service intellectual property by introducing the Rain Heat & Snow brand of apparel and accessory products.
Image: Wahconah Group
The Wahconah Group is described in the press release as, "is a minority-owned company based in Cleveland, OH, with extensive experience in the fashion apparel industry." However, the company's website never mentions the minority-owned element, but they do describe themselves thusly; "The Wahconah Group designs, sources, manufactures, and sells apparel with an initial focus on the men’s apparel market."
The press release makes mention of Wahconah's intent to create a women's line of USPS clothing "in the future." The initial launch will be for men's clothing only, with a focus on something called "smart apparel":
“This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion,” said Postal Service Corporate Licensing Manager Steven Mills. “The main focus will be to produce Rain Heat & Snow apparel and accessories using technology to create ‘smart apparel’ — also known as wearable electronics.”
The postal service is now focusing on "the cutting edge of functional fashion?" TheBlaze has read all of the original text of the 1792 Postal Services Act and the words fashion, clothing, and apparel are nowhere in the 8 1/2 page document.
Is it possible that the seeds for this postal fashion idea were planted on reality television? In the very first season of Bravo's Project Runway, the show had a challenge to redesign the uniforms of postal workers.
Or, did the United States Postal Service (USPS) just learn something from a 20-year-old Mel Brooks movie?
Either way, the move is important because, as the press release sates:
"The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations."
Are you looking forward seeing what fashion forward designs will come from the Post Office this Spring? And can fashion save the post office?