Weekend Link Roundup

From this post: Ann Taylor The One-Button Blazer (size 00P), Boatneck Dress (now on sale; size 00P), Wide Leather Trouser Belt(size XS, with extra holes punched), Azra Suede Pumps

♥ Until 11/18/19, take 40% off 3+ full-price items (or 30% off 2 full-price items, or 20% off 1 full-price item) at Ann Taylor; no code needed, discount reflects in cart. My picks:

Fashion? They’re Over It (The New York Times): “… it was time to shed the hoodies, biker coats, platform sneakers and country-style floral dresses that until recently denoted cool in favor of a genteelly understated, increasingly formal and durable look … Call it unfashion, anti-fashion or a counter to the counterculture … More Jackie O. than J. Lo, it trails a whiff of old money laced with a dose of common sense. And it means to send a message that the wearer is too savvy, too secure in her skin, to bother keeping pace with the vagaries of style.”

Burberry’s China Conundrum (The Business of Fashion): “Chief Executive Marco Gobbetti’s strategy for rebooting the British heritage brand relies heavily on high-spending Chinese customers, but the country’s economy is slowing and clashes between pro-democracy protestors and police have devastated retail in the key market of Hong Kong, eating into sales momentum. The brand announced Thursday that adjusted operating profit fell 4 percent to £187 million ($240 million), with the protests in Hong Kong prompting Burberry to write down the value of its shops in the region by £14 million. Spending in China rose by a mid single-digit percentage in the first half, but was ‘slightly slower’ in the second quarter … Hong Kong typically accounts for 8 percent of Burberry’s revenues, but this has fallen to 5 percent in the past six months and more pressure is expected in the coming quarter … Another key pillar in Gobbetti’s turnaround plan is increasing its leather goods segment, where sales declined by 5 percent, despite Tisci and former–Dior accessories designer Sabrina Bonesi’s new collection of TB monogram handbags, Lola shoulder bag and streetwear inspired bum-bags and backpacks.”

The Porch Pirate of Potrero Hill Can’t Believe It Came to This (The Atlantic): “In some cities, the relationship between the police and companies has gone beyond marketing. Amazon is helping police departments run ‘bait box’ operations … to capture anyone who tries to steal them. Gearing up for one such operation in December 2018, police in Jersey City, New Jersey, exchanged emails … with loss-prevention employees from Amazon and a public-relations staffer from its Ring division. Amazon sent police free branded boxes, and even heat maps of areas where the company’s customers suffer the most thefts. Ring donated doorbells that police officers installed on their own stoops to film thieves, and offered to coordinate a PR campaign … While porch cams have been used to investigate cases as serious as homicides, the surveillance and neighborhood social networking typically make a particular type of crime especially visible: those lower-level ones happening out in public, committed by the poorest. Despite the much higher cost of white-collar crime, it seems to cause less societal hand-wringing than what might be caught on a Ring camera.”

Gucci’s Next Move: Luxury Call Centers (The Wall Street Journal): “Gucci shot from $4.2 billion in revenue in 2015 to $9.5 billion in 2018, and last year delivered 78% of Kering’s recurring operating income … at a brand-new customer service center in Jersey City dubbed Gucci 9 Hudson, Gucci call center staffers sit in plush offices designed by Michele’s Florentine atelier … It’s part of a growing network of in-house customer service centers, with locations at Gucci’s Florentine headquarters and in Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul—all decorated the exact same way, with staff trained to answer queries by phone, text, messaging apps and eventually video chat.”

Mulberry Reports £11m Losses Despite Efforts to Win Younger Customers (The Guardian): “The handbag maker said pretax losses widened to £11m in the six months to 28 September from £8.2m a year before. Sales in the UK, which account for 65% of the business, fell 4% amid challenging conditions and subdued demand from shoppers … Mulberry expects to return to profitability in the second half of its financial year as it continues to increase sales in Asia and online by double digit percentages.”

The Case for a Falling Dollar (The Economist): “A weaker dollar would be both a signal and a driver of a broader improvement in risk appetite. The dollar’s fortunes have not yet shifted decisively. But the conditions for it to weaken are starting to fall into place … A shift in global capital away from America would be a particular boon to emerging markets. A fall in the dollar would make it easier to service their foreign-currency debts. It would also ease local credit conditions, thus helping GDP growth.”

Adidas to Close Sneaker Factory in the U.S., Move Production to Asia (The Wall Street Journal): “The German company, the world’s second-largest athletic gear maker by revenue after Nike Inc., said … it would move technology developed at its so-called ‘Speedfactories’ to two suppliers in Vietnam and China … The closure of the facilities in Ansbach, Germany, and suburban Atlanta—both opened within the past three years—raises questions about the feasibility of bringing manufacturing jobs back to developed markets.”

What’s Left of Condé Nast (New York Magazine): “… what is Condé Nast today? It’s a company that lost as much in 2017 as it made in profit in 2003. It has two dozen brands, which used to be called ‘magazines,’ nine of which still have print editions in the U.S. … Condé Nast Entertainment produces 4,000 digital videos a year, plus a few movies and TV shows … Five years ago, Condé made 80 percent of its revenue from print advertising but now makes more than 60 percent in other ways.”

Wait a Minute. How Can They Afford That When I Can’t? (The New York Times): “When people seem to be able to afford much more than their income would suggest, it’s often because there is hidden wealth or hidden debt.”

Riches from Rags (Bloomberg): “Few consumers, anywhere, have heard of the wiping-rag industry. But it bails out everyone. Approximately 30% of the textiles recovered for recycling in the U.S. are converted to wiping rags … Nobody counts the number of wiping rags manufactured in the U.S. and elsewhere every year. But anyone who knows the industry acknowledges that the numbers are in the many billions—and growing … the days of recycled 100% cotton rags are pretty much over, and so are the days when manufacturers could adhere to those industry specifications. Clothes and textiles simply aren’t as well-made as they used to be. A shirt that falls apart after a few washes can’t be transformed into a rag suitable for wiping down a freshly washed car or table. Cheap fast fashion doesn’t just hurt thrift shops; it hastens the trip to the landfill or garbage incinerator.”

The Strange Life and Mysterious Death of a Virtuoso Coder (Wired): “A new and convincing theory of Haas’ demise now came into focus, one that had nothing to do with foul play. It was clear that Haas’ mental health had frayed as he struggled to launch Tessr, a venture on which he’d pinned his hopes for personal redemption. The closer he’d gotten to success, the more anxious he’d grown at the prospect of being absorbed into the conventional world he’d long rejected. Haas had a history of dealing with such inner turmoil by running off: He’d gone to Florida to become a vagrant after dropping out of college, and he’d fled into the mountains of southeast Ohio while grappling with the realization that he’d squandered years on drugs.

Yoga Is Finally Facing Consent and Unwanted Touch (The New York Times): “Disregarding complaints about unwanted touch, or much worse, has been the way of yoga for decades. Much of the yoga community has been slow or unwilling to respond, maybe because teachers are loath to discredit those they see as gurus. Additionally, many teachers have built their businesses and personal brands in part from associating with these figures … while a conversation about touch and consent has been taking place … for some time now, the yoga studio remains a place where the simple act of unfurling a mat signals to many teachers … that they can touch you as they see fit.”

Take the Money and Run (The Economist): “RAND conducted a workplace survey across seven countries, and it found that those who reported higher levels of activity (equating to 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous workout) had better mental health on average.”

Amazon’s Heavy Recruitment of Chinese Sellers Puts Consumers at Risk (The Wall Street Journal): “Amazon … has aggressively recruited Chinese manufacturers and merchants to sell to consumers outside the country. And these sellers, in turn, represent a high proportion of problem listings found on the site … Amazon’s China recruiting is one reason why its platform increasingly resembles an unruly online flea market. A new product listing is uploaded to Amazon from China every 1/50th of a second … Among the 10,000 most-reviewed accounts on Amazon’s U.S. site whose locations could be determined in October, about 38% were in China … compared with 25% three years ago.”

The Unspeakable Cost of Parenthood (The New York Times): “… some of the sense of stigma parents experience comes from our fear of burdening our kids … But much of it … is the result of our cultural attachment to the idea that if we graduate from college and work hard, we will inevitably succeed.”

The Case Against Boeing (The New Yorker): “Updating the plane introduced some engineering difficulties. The new model had larger engines, and it was hard to find room for them on the low-slung 737. Boeing decided to place the engines farther forward, just in front of the wing. The new position, and the greater thrust of the engines, produced an aerodynamic challenge during a maneuver called a windup turn … Instead of the steadily increasing force on the control column that pilots were used to feeling—and that F.A.A. guidelines required—the new engines caused a loosening sensation … To correct this, Boeing settled on a software feature called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. As the nose of the jet approached a high angle, suggesting an oncoming stall, MCAS would adjust the stabilizer on the plane’s tail, pushing the nose down, to alleviate the slackness in the control column … Boeing considered the MCAS feature to be so minor that it removed mention of it from the 737 MAX’s pilot manual. This meant that the Lion Air pilots had no idea why their plane kept forcing itself downward: an angle-of-attack sensor on the jet’s nose had malfunctioned, mistakenly signalling that the plane was nearing a stall and leading MCAS to continually push the nose down—twenty-one times in all … The New York Times reported that Boeing had offered a safety feature to alert pilots to a faulty angle-of-attack sensor, but charged extra for it; neither of the doomed planes had this equipment. The Wall Street Journal reported that Boeing’s assumption in designing MCAS was that, in the event of a malfunction, pilots would be able to respond properly within four seconds … Taken together, the reports suggested that Boeing had put all the risk on the pilot, who would be expected to know what to do within seconds if a system he didn’t know existed set off a welter of cockpit alerts and forced the plane downward.

♥ Recently purchased: Everlane The Cashmere Turtleneck Dress, French Connection Bobble Stitch Crop Sweater, Ann Taylor Ribbed Balloon Sleeve Sweater, Uniqlo Heattech Ultra Stretch Leggings Pants, Abercrombie & Fitch Collarless Wool-Blend Coat, and Tibi Belted Faux Fur Coat.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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