Why on Earth Is Forever 21 Collaborating With USPS?

USPS Priority Tube Top. Photo: Courtesy of Forever 21

Do you ever stand in line for what feels like eternity at the post office and think: Man, huge missed opportunity for a fashion collaboration here?

Someone at Forever 21 must have, because the brand recently launched an official streetwear collection with the United States Postal Service. For those of you too young to know about the United States Postal Service (USPS for short), it’s a government-regulated entity that ships something we used to call “mail,” which you put in envelopes and decorate with these sticky things called “stamps.” Weird, I know.

The Forever 21 x USPS collection includes “Priority” mail tube tops and bike shorts, hoodies with fake packing recepits on the back, and belts that look like packing tape (as well as a certain Off-White accessory). According to the website’s “Best Seller” tag, people are actually buying these items. One zipper clutch, which looks like a Priority Mail envelope, even appears to be sold out.

USPS Zippered Clutch.
USPS Express Crop Top, Graphic Belt, and Biker Shorts.
USPS Express Cropped Tank Top.
USPS Label Hooded Windbreaker.

Why would Forever 21 collaborate with the United States Postal Service, you ask? Great question. The Cut has posed a similar inquiry to a rep for the company, and we’ll let you know if/when we hear back. But from where we’re sitting now, this collection “makes sense” from a fashion perspective. For starters, Forever 21 is a fast-fashion label. USPS can be fast … in theory.

Also, fashion has recently been objectifying shrinking industries like print journalism (see: Jeremy Scott’s fall 2019 newsprint-inspired collection) and, yes, shipping and receiving. Most notably, Vetements designed a knockoff “DHL” T-shirt in 2016, charging hundreds of dollars for an exact replica of the company’s logo. It was an eyebrow-raising mix of workwear and camp that drove consumers, especially the street style-inclined, totally nuts.

Vetements “DHL” T-shirt.

Prices for the Forever 21 x USPS collection range from $14.90 to $54.90. That’s a little more than what it would cost to ship your purchase, but the good news is that everyone still wins if you return it.

Update: A representative from Forever 21 sent the Cut the following statement about the USPS collection:

We worked on this collection with a heavy normcore influence that has been popping up all over in streetwear. We put our own spin on this, combining trendy bodies with Kitschy text-driven graphic placement. We are happy to work with the USPS on this project, especially since we like to keep our Forever 21 fans on their toes with some unexpected mash ups!

Why on Earth Is Forever 21 Collaborating With USPS?