Save the USPS: J-Fashion Edition

The United States Postal Service (USPS) desperately needs our help. It is an essential service that the United States government provides for its citizens. We use it for everything from getting our groceries, voting in elections, receiving junk mail, and of course receiving our precious burando. In the current state of the world, online shopping and shipping are an essential part of many lives.

“What is happening to it?” you may be asking yourself. If you are looking for an easily digestible and humorous explanation of what is happening, John Oliver has not one, but two episodes available for free on YouTube recounting the importance of the post office and the attacks that the US Postal Service has been facing for years. The USPS has been and is currently under attack. Now it’s in grave danger of being forced to shut down. Losing the USPS will affect every part of our society; yes, even including ours in the J-fashion and alternative fashion communities.

USPS and J-Fashion

Before fashion departments became common place at anime conventions, almost all J-fashion brand clothing was purchased online. Even now, unless you happen to live in one of the few cities with a physical shop or can sew, you’ll definitely be ordering your stuff online for the rest of your life. Guess who handles all your EMS packages from Japan? The USPS. The packages from your favorites designers? The USPS. You packages from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright San Francisco? The USPS. How do I ship my endless Lace Market listings? The USPS. While in recent years, J-fashion has become more accessible in the US at conventions, with the continued spread of COVID-19, we have to accept that as conventions are cancelled or postponed for the unforeseeable future and that there will be no in-person shopping. 99% of the American J-fashion community revolves around shipping and without the USPS, our community would be nothing and we would literally have nothing.

Why the USPS is important

  • Provides jobs to over half a million employees. Roughly 40% of employees consist of racial minorities and and roughly 40% of the workforce consists of women.

  • Keeps shipping at accessible prices. Without the USPS, shipping prices will be even more expensive.

  • Provides vital services to rural and indigenous communities.

  • Allows many small businesses to operate.
    Your favorite brands such as Baby, the Star Shine Bright San Fransisco and Angelic Pretty USA use the USPS. All indie brands use it, too. Heck, even I use it for Lace Market sales.

  • Many post office locations are where Americans can apply for passports. If you’ve ever dreamed of going abroad to Japan to experience your own Harajuku shopping, or dreamed of going to Paris to eat macarons and pose with the Eiffel Tower in those numerous French themed prints, or attend a Street Fashion Europe event, or even just want to go to a con in Canada, the post office serves this important function.

Global Effect on the J-Fashion Community

  • The USPS also helps keeps second hand prices down. When using private companies to receive packages from overseas, customers are more likely to be hit with large customs fees. Those customs fees will later end up being incorporated into the second hand price. One of the ways the second hand market is able to stay so low is because items shipped with the USPS are not hit with customs fees as frequently.

  • Shipping from and to America will become more expensive and will make purchases less frequent.

Ways you can help

Here are 5 different ways you can help the USPS:

  • Contact your government representatives
    Start at the top of the command chain by contacting your state’s Senators. This is the most effective way to help in the long-run and it’s free to do! Luckily, you can contact their offices in a variety of ways. They need to hear from you.

    • Text “USPS” to 50409. This is an automated text using Resistbot, just follow their simple instructions.

    • Call your Senators. The APWU form will connect you automatically to your representatives’ office and provides a script for you to read.

    • E-mail your representative. Here’s a list of all the current ones with all of their contact info.

    • Tweet at them. Take it to the bird site and let them know.

  • Buy stamps
    The most direct way to give the USPS money is by purchasing stamps. You want to make your letters cute and elegant? They’ve got your back. Stamps to the USPS are like gift cards to local restaurants. They receive the funds upfront to continue operating while you can redeem your service later. USPS forever stamps can be used at any time now or in the far future; they’ll never expire.

  • Sign petitions
    This is another method that doesn’t cost any money.

  • Buy merch
    Did you know the USPS has an official merch shop? I didn’t either. Here’s a lolita coordinate I made using some of the available merch! This coordinate features the Express Mail T-shirt, USPS Messenger Bag, and U.S. Mail Carrier Dog Costume. Yes, I did put the dog costume on an usakumya and you can too for only $17.99!

  • Share
    Spread awareness. Share your stories and fond memories of the USPS using hashtag #SaveThePostOffice. #ThankYouUSPS is also another popular hashtag being used. Share the post. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Urge them to act as well.

My #ThankYouUSPS story:

I owe my entire lolita existence to the USPS; without it, I would never have become so invested in the fashion. Rarely can I find clothing that is edgy enough for the gothic aristocrat romance aethetic at physical shops, so I’ve relied on online shopping for the last 10 years to build my solid gothic lolita and ouji wardrobe. The USPS makes it easy to buy and sell secondhand as well. Recently, since Japan to US EMS shipping is temporarily suspended, I had to use the private courier DHL to ship my package from Japan to the US. Boy, the price of private couriers is not cheap. It cost me about 3x as much than what I would have paid with EMS. If all shipping becomes privatized, it’s going to hurt everyone’s wallets.

The USPS is is an essential service and without it the state of the American and global J-fashion communities will be negatively affected. Both major and indie brands rely on the USPS. It provides way more to our communities than just affordable shipping prices; it provides an outlet to the rest of the country and the world. It needs our help to continue operating. The American J-fashion community is so large. Together, let’s continue to raise awareness to save an essential part of our hobby. If the hypebeasts can rally together to support the USPS, so can we!

Here are some additional simple banners you can share on social media! They’re already up on my Instagram and Pinterest and ready to share.

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