In a desperate bid to create new revenue streams at a time when its business is losing billions of dollars, the US Postal Service is set to move into an altogether different area – ‘smart’ clothing.
No, we’re not talking about smart clothing (although the garments may very well be neat and tidy), we’re talking about smart clothing, or “smart apparel”, as the Postal Service is calling it.
High-tech clothing? The Postal Service? Can it really be happening? Yes, it sounds like it.
Speaking to the Washington Post about the venture, Postal Service representative Roy Betts said the initial wave of gear will likely include “jackets, headgear, footwear and clothing that allows integration of modern technology devices such as iPods.”
iPods? The fact that Betts made no mention of ‘newfangled’ technology like smartphones may alarm those who were hoping for something truly state-of-the-art to hang in their closet. Of course, it could be that Betts’ failure to mention smartphones has no bearing on the kind of technology being employed in the garments (he’s not designing the clothes, after all), or simply that the Washington Post cut the word from its report.
The brand, to be called Rain Heat & Snow in a nod to the 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,” is the result of a link-up between the Postal Service and Cleveland-based fashion apparel company Wahconah Group, Inc.
“This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion,” said Steven Mills, the Postal Service’s corporate licensing manager. “The main focus will be to produce Rain Heat & Snow apparel and accessories using technology to create ‘smart apparel’ — also known as wearable electronics.”
So will the Postal Service’s forthcoming range of Rain Heat & Snow smart apparel be something truly revolutionary, or simply a selection of garments with those little battery-operated fans sewn inside? Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait a while to find out – the new garments will be coming to premium department stores (not post offices) some time next year.