Weekend Link Roundup

This edition of WLR is an especially good one (if I say so myself); every single article is worth reading in full.

The Race to Make the Warmest Winter Clothes (Vox): “Shoppers will pay a premium for high-performance, high-status items. This is essentially how Canada Goose and Moncler, as well as brands like Mackage, Woolrich, and Moose Knuckles, have turned the winter jacket into a luxury staple … Luxury brands are enjoying this race to sell the warmest clothes — Canada Goose’s revenue jumped from $218 million in 2016 to $445 million last year. Moncler’s sales, too, hit $1.3 billion in 2017, up 35 percent from 2015.”

Karl Lagerfeld, Designer Who Defined Luxury Fashion, Is Dead (The New York Times): “His contribution to fashion was not in creating a new silhouette, as … Coco Chanel herself did. Rather, he created a new kind of designer: the shape-shifter. That is to say, he was the creative force who lands at the top of a heritage brand and reinvents it by identifying its sartorial semiology and then pulls it into the present with a healthy dose of disrespect and a dollop of pop culture.”

“Down The Rabbit Hole I Go”: How A Young Woman Followed Two Hackers’ Lies To Her Death (Buzzfeed): “As the tools of online identity curation proliferate and grow more sophisticated, so do the avenues for deception. Everyone’s familiar with the little lies — a touch-up on Instagram or a stolen idea on Twitter. But what about the big ones? Whom could you defraud, trick, ruin, by presenting false information, or information falsely gained? An infinite number of individual claims to truth presents itself. How can you ever know, really know, that any piece of information you see on a screen is true? Some will find this disorienting, terrifying, paralyzing. Others will feel at home in it.”

Zillow Wants to Flip Your House (Bloomberg): “For the privilege of taking the no-fuss all-cash offer, they paid Zillow a fee. The company charges 6 percent to 9 percent, more than the 5 percent commission typical for real estate agents in Phoenix … Zillow is part of a new breed of high-tech home flippers, sometimes called ‘iBuyers,’ that also includes Silicon Valley startups and a small group of adventurous real estate brokerages that have instant-offer operations. Armed with Wall Street and Silicon Valley capital and algorithms designed to make granular predictions about home prices, these investors are buying homes on a massive scale, wringing tiny profits out of each flip.”

The Reinvention of Jason Wu—and What It Means for American Fashion (The Wall Street Journal): “‘I’m totally not where I thought I would be,’ the 36-year-old Mr. Wu said before the runup to New York Fashion Week … ‘When you dress very, very prominent women, it does give people the false impression that you’ve already made it…A dress is a dress but without a business and without a whole structure, and without working smartly and being relevant as a business and a designer, the moment is just that, it’s a moment.'”

For a Black Mathematician, What It’s Like to Be the ‘Only One’ (The New York Times): “Interviews with departing faculty of color indicated that ‘improving the climate’ would be key to retaining them … progress would hinge partly on majority-group faculty members adjusting their personal behavior … The ethos characterized as meritocracy, some said, is often wielded as a seemingly unassailable excuse for screening out promising minority job candidates who lack a name-brand alma mater or an illustrious mentor. Hiring committees that reflect the mostly white and Asian makeup of most math departments say they are compelled to ‘choose the ‘best,’’ said Ryan Hynd, a black mathematician at the University of Pennsylvania, ‘even though there’s no guideline about what ‘best’ is.'”

Inside Elizabeth Holmes’s Final Months at Theranos (Vanity Fair): “Holmes is currently living in San Francisco in a luxury apartment. She’s engaged to a younger hospitality heir, who also works in tech. She wears his M.I.T. signet ring on a necklace and the couple regularly post stories on Instagram professing their love for each other. She reliably looks ‘chirpy’ and ‘chipper.’ She’s also abandoned the black-turtleneck look and now dresses in athleisure … Notably, she is far from a hermit. She tells former colleagues … that she is greeted by well-wishers on the street who are rooting for her resurrection. It’s a stark contrast to many of her old colleagues. Former Theranos employees I have spoken to have relayed horror stories about their inability to find work after leaving the company, now with a permanent stain on their résumé.”

When Brad Pitt Tried to Save the Lower Ninth Ward (Bloomberg): “… multiple sources who worked with the organization say its early years were better intentioned than they were managed … the foundation spending lavishly on equipment rental and other overhead … five years after the first houses went up, ‘unexpected repair costs’ totaled $1.8 million … The problems weren’t universal or insurmountable, one former Make It Right employee says, but the organization was focused on a happy public image … 2016 marked a kind of turning point for Make It Right’s relationship with the neighborhood … The neighborhood meetings Make It Right used to host petered out. The organization stopped talking to the press; residents say they were ignored. Its website fell out of date and is peppered with dead links, and the nonprofit doesn’t appear to have made the requisite tax filings for a 501(c)(3) since 2015.”

When Your Favorite Streamer Turns Out To Be A Creep (Or Worse) (Kotaku): “For better or worse, the physical and the digital have collapsed, and riding this wave is Twitch, an interactive platform where charismatic young people livestream video games for large audiences of fans, who may engage the streamer live in chat … Fear and the desire to be accepted by somebody who is widely respected might prevent fans from speaking out against their favorite gaming celebrity’s inappropriate behavior. On the other hand, the small brand empires that these gamers build up run the risk of collapsing once call-outs become public. Yet because many of the platforms that bolster these personalities’ fame are hands-off about moderating, sometimes, the alleged bad actors return even after they’ve been disgraced publicly.”

The Dodgy, Vulnerable Fame of Youtube’s Child Asmr Stars (Wired): “According to YouTube estimates, there are more than 45 million ASMR videos uploaded to the site, and, over the past year, there has been a marked increase in children making ASMR-related videos … The question is, is it right for a child to trigger … ‘head-to-toe euphoria’ in adults?”

America’s Professional Elite: Wealthy, Successful and Miserable (The New York Times): “… for those who do find themselves miserable at work, it’s an important reminder that the smoothest life paths sometimes fail to teach us about what really brings us satisfaction day to day. A core goal of capitalism is evaluating and putting a price on risk. In our professional lives, we hedge against misfortune by taking out insurance policies in the form of fancy degrees, saving against rainy days by pursuing careers that promise stability. Nowadays, however, stability is increasingly scarce, and risk is harder to measure. Many of our insurance policies have turned out to be worth as much as Enron.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Isn’t Looking to Retire Yet, But Is Another Supreme Court Justice Ready to Go? (The New Yorker): “… will Thomas retire? Over the years, he has made little secret of the fact that he doesn’t enjoy the job very much. With a conservative future of the Court secure, why wouldn’t he call it a day after twenty-eight years? Because, according to his friends, he feels an obligation to continue doing the job for as long as he is able, regardless of the political implications of his departure. Of course, no one except Thomas knows for sure what he will do, and that leaves his decision open to speculation.”

Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn (Bloomberg): “Foxconn has a history of overpromising and underdelivering on major deals. In Brazil in 2011 and India in 2015, it pledged to invest billions of dollars and create tens of thousands of jobs after Gou courted each country’s leaders, but each project fell far short. In 2013, Foxconn said it would invest $30 million and employ as many as 500 people at a Pennsylvania factory that also never fully materialized. Multiple former executives say Gou makes big promises to secure favorable terms and is unsentimental about reneging on or abandoning them as costs dictate. Wisconsin officials apparently didn’t consider Gou’s track record problematic.”

‘This One Here Is Gonna Kick My Butt’—Farm Belt Bankruptcies Are Soaring (The Wall Street Journal): “U.S. farm debt … last year climbed to more than $409 billion … That’s the largest sum in nearly four decades and a level not seen since the 1980s, when farmland values plunged and interest rates skyrocketed … Nationwide, chapter 12 bankruptcy filings are below highs reached in 2010, when commodity prices dropped following the U.S. recession. But bankruptcies are climbing across swaths of the Midwest that produce much of the nation’s grain and meat. Last year, bankruptcies in the Seventh, Eighth and 10th Circuits made up 48% of the U.S. total of chapter 12 bankruptcies, versus 37% a decade earlier.”

Wait — What Is a Hole? (The New York Times): “A hole is a portion of something where something is not. Beyond that, holes are slippery.”

♥ Recently purchased: Banana Republic Maxi Trench Coat, Steven Greece Slides, Steven Release Strappy Sandals, J. Crew 2011 Icon Trench in Oversized Gingham (loving all the gingham in the new arrivals section) and Tory Burch Emmy Sandal.

Have a great weekend!

Hi, I am Elle!

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