UPS Partners with Áwet NYC for New Initiative Empowering Black Fashion Designers


March 15, 2024

According to UPS, “Fashion isn’t just about fabrics and stitches; it’s about stories of resilience and breaking barriers.”

In a move to increase diversity and inclusion within the fashion industry, UPS has announced a groundbreaking collaboration with Áwet Woldegebriel of Áwet New York to close the gap for emerging BIPOC designers. The result is “Livewear,” an innovative new NoHo storefront dedicated to showcasing emerging BIPOC fashion designers. Kellie Streat, Director of US Digital Marketing & Brand Partnerships at UPS, shared insights with Because of Them We Can into this visionary initiative and its alignment with UPS’s overarching goals and values.

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“UPS looks for unique opportunities to fuel small businesses,” Streat emphasized. “BIPOC small businesses are the backbone of the fashion industry, and yet, they still find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to scaling their business and accessing resources. While they still face challenges, we celebrate their resilience and determination to succeed and break barriers.”

Woldegebriel meticulously curates the selection process for emerging fashion brands featured in the Livewear storefront. Known for his commitment to spotlighting BIPOC brands, the Eritrean refugee launched his Áwet New York brand in 2020, inspired by his father, a former tailor who always taught him to “look out for people with greatness in their hands.” At the height of the pandemic, Woldegebriel launched his first brand, a collection to support local NYC garment workers. Since then, he has continued to build a bridge between community and craft, elevating emerging Black, indigenous, and people of color looking to make their mark in the fashion industry.

Streat outlines the criteria for applicants, emphasizing the importance of being an emerging BIPOC small business owner with inventory and a commitment to shipping with UPS throughout the term.


“We are intentional about creating a space that invites guests to commune and shop,” Streat explained. “Our top priorities when sourcing applicants include ensuring they are BIPOC small business owners and encouraging a sense of unity and balance within the store.”

The collaboration with Woldegebriel’s Livewear signifies UPS’s commitment to providing resources and support to diversely owned small businesses. Streat highlighted the importance of this partnership in bridging the gap in representation within the fashion industry and empowering BIPOC entrepreneurs to thrive.

In addition to financial assistance, UPS aims to provide participating designers with mentorship, networking opportunities, and marketing support. Streat also highlighted the initiative’s perks, encouraging designers to apply for the opportunity to design UPS’s next “Be Unstoppable” capsule collection.


“Our collaboration with Livewear aims to support select participants with marketing, advertising, and networking opportunities throughout the year,” Streat stated. “We hope to instill confidence and foster a safe space for industry discussions and relationship-building.”

Ultimately, UPS seeks to make a tangible impact in empowering BIPOC-owned businesses, continuing its commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion for small businesses through this collaboration. Streat emphasized the importance of supporting emerging brands to drive innovation, creativity, and perspective in the fashion landscape.

“By supporting emerging brands, we hope to see more diversity in the fashion industry,” Streat concluded. “UPS is dedicated to contributing to a more inclusive and vibrant fashion industry, where BIPOC designers have the opportunity to thrive and make their mark.”


Cover photo: UPS Partners with Livewear to Foster Diversity and Inclusion / Credit: UPS

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