If you know what kind of company Worldnet is, you’re probably a fashion industry insider. The premium logistics service has been working for elite fashion figures and celebrities for 25 years, making sure that their black tie dresses and wedding gowns get to the red carpet and church on time, respectively.
Over the years, the company hoodie has become a coveted garment for those in the know. Worldnet has tantalizingly issued several versions of the hoodie over the years. Now, it’s launching a 25th anniversary edition in collaboration with Byronesque.
Since Worldnet launched in 1997 to deliver the best fashion in the world around the world, the staff hoodie has been worn by the likes of Frank Ocean and the late Virgil Abloh, not because they were paid to wear it, but because they wanted to wear it it.
At the invitation of Anna Wintour, Worldnet’s anniversary was recently marked with the brand’s runway debut at the Vogue World event during New York Fashion Week. Now, contemporary-vintage brand Byronesque, is offering a limited-edition collection of vintage hoodies featuring the fashion insider logo, appropriately embossed in gold to mark the 25 years.
Twenty-five authentic vintage hoodies from the Eighties and early Nineties will be gifted to designers, stylists, and editors, from Suzanne Koller to Stephen Jones, who have trusted Worldnet to deliver for them over the years. Worldnet has often saved the shoot, show, sale or celebrity red carpet when other delivery services failed.
Richard Bhullar, co-founder of Worldnet with his sister Mary, said of the anniversary hoodie with Byronesque, “We are so proud to be celebrating our 25 years in delivering fashion. We couldn’t have predicted that the Worldnet hoodie would become a part of our clients’ fashion wardrobes. We’ve been delivering Byronesque’s rare vintage collections around the world for a long time and when [cofounder] Gill [Linton] suggested we should make a vintage version of the hoodie, it made complete sense that we should do this with them.”
Linton said, “Worldnet has supported us since we launched, not just because we ship special vintage items around the world, but because they support creative integrity and help to facilitate that. They’re so much more than a shipping company, they understand the fashion business, and frankly they are what keeps it going.”
As part of their ongoing celebrations and support of creatives in fashion, Worldnet is a sponsor of the fashion film festival ASVOFF 14, with the responsibility of delivering this year’s award statues from New York to Paris. Byronesque is also supporting with Worldnet the film festival by writing and filming three film bumpers of Worldnet shipping the awards from New York to Paris.
“It started a few years ago with a DKNY pr girl and the social media that she posted,” Bhullar said. “Then we started to get requests from our customers for the T-shirts and hoodies. She wrote an article. It kind of just went on from there. It became a fashion industry thing to have.
“Frank Ocean reached out and wanted to do a black hoodie in 2018,” Bhullar said. “It was a limited edition. Nike
“We kind of rebranded and went from a blue hoodie to a black hoodie,” Bhullar said. “Even now, we still get requests for the blue hoodie. We do them like some type of merch give away for customers. Last year, we did a pink hoodie for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We didn’t do it to get oversaturated, so we do one about once a year.”
“This year because it was our 25th anniversary we designed a black hoodie with silver logo. The black and silver is around the anniversary,” Bhullar said. “Then Gill reached out and wanted to do something different. So we’ll take a spin with different hoodies.
Worldnet is a premium logistics provider, heavily involved in fashion. About 80% of its business is in fashion. “It can get very complicated when you’re dealing with different time zones and customs-related rules and regulations,” Bhullar said.
Bhullar has had some interesting assignments. “Every day, every shipment we deal with is super important and time critical,” he said. “It’s interesting because we’re dealing with celebrities and VIPs. Everything we’re moving always has that sense of high urgency.”
Worldnet has also had a brush with royalty. “We moved Meghan Markle’s wedding dress from Givenchy in Paris. That was really interesting. We knew it was super secure because we had to have high security on the move. We did it in the middle of the night the day before the wedding. At midnight in Paris, we drove it to a location just outside of Buckingham Palace. It was crated and couldn’t be opened, and the driver couldn’t know what it was. That was one of the most famous shipments.”
There’s been lots of those over the years, Bhullar added. “We’ve done Super Bowl events, the Oscars, the Emmys, the VMAs, the Cannes Film Festival is a big film festival for us every year,” he said. “There’s also the Venice Film Festival. Art Basel was a big event last year in Miami. We’re at the premiere, red carpet event, we’re usually behind the scenes moving a lot of product.”
Discretion is an important attribute to have in the high stakes business. “Making sure it gets picked up on time and delivered on time, and dealing with customs,” Bhullar said. “These are international shipments. Most recently, we did Jennifer Lopez and Ben Afleck’s wedding in Savannah. We did the whole wedding party, the wedding dress and the groom’s suit and all the wedding party’s clothes. That was Ralph Lauren couture.
“Our services are at different levels,” Bhullar said. “We have our premium services, where we will collect and it goes on a passenger aircraft. If it’s really super-urgent, we have it hand-carried where someone actually flies with the product and they’re responsible for it. We’re doing shipments like that every day. It’s all different levels of urgency, security. Over 25 years, we have offices in New York, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome and Milan.”
Worldnet was involved with a number of different brands for the World Cup in Doha. “There was a fashion event there,” Bhullar said. “Last year, for Coach, and parent, Tapestry, we were involved in the whole event, organizing all the product from their showroom in New York City and then having it delivered to Shanghai and then the return of that product as well. It was shipping the entire collection. Also, sometimes it can be one dress, one pair of shoes.
“We’ve done full collections for Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga,” Bhullar said. “We do a lot of major, big events. It’s an interesting world, behind the scenes of fashion. There’s a lot of compliance as well. Shipments can get stuck in customs. That’s a part of what we do as well. It’s been a tough two years with Covid. There’s been a lot of disruptions in the supply chains and moving products to celebrities’ homes.”
Worldnet delivered President Joe Biden’s suit from Ralph Lauren for his inauguration two years ago. “What happens is, you kind of get into a rhythm of what works and what doesn’t. There are things that remain out of your control as well. Things go missing with the airlines or delayed with the airlines. There’s real time GPS trackers that are on the shipments.”
Price points are different than Fedex, UPS, DHL, the big three integrators. It varies by customer and region. It could be 30% higher to ten times higher than the integrators. “If you want someone to deliver a package from New York to Paris, standard overnight service could cost between $300 and $500, and hand-carried service could cost from $3,000 to $5,000.”
Globally, Worldnet has 220 employees in its five offices. “We have to work around the clock 24/7. It’s really interesting work as well, the type of product you’re moving. It’s what’s in the box that makes it important and exciting.
“Me and Mary have been doing this for a long time,” Bhullar said. “We’ve both been in the industry for over 30 years. Maybe when we retire we’ll write a book. It’s so exciting, what’s happening in the industry today. In 25 years, the industry has grown and we’ve grown with the fashion industry in a way.
“Some of these luxury brands had two boutiques in major cities 25 years ago,” Bhullar said. “Fashion’s changed and evolved and grown and Worldnet’s grown alongside it. We work with Chanel, Dior and Fendi, and Ralph Lauren. New brands that are startups are really exciting to see, as are collaborations with luxury brands and sportswear brands. It’s great to be recognized within the industry for what we do.”