Weekly Link Roundup

Free People Ladybug Long Sleeve Top (also here, here, and here) || Mineral Blue || Size XS

♥ I ordered the Ladybug Long Sleeve Top during Free People’s extra 50% off sale last month and despite some fit issues (the length is cropped, but the shoulder area oversized, so it’s at once too small and too big), I decided to keep it as I find it both very comfortable and super cute. The neckline is more low-cut than what I am used to, but now that I am dressing just for me, modesty has been dropped from the grading rubric. If you are interested, it’s been further marked down online in two colorways.

The Pandemic Helped Topple Two Retailers. So Did Private Equity. (The New York Times): “Like many other retailers, J. Crew and Neiman over the past decade paid hundreds of millions of dollars in interest and fees to their new owners, when they needed to spend money to adapt to a shifting retail environment. And when the pandemic wiped out much of their sales, neither had anywhere to go for relief except court … 10 of the 14 largest retail chain bankruptcies since 2012 involved companies that private equity firms had acquired … J. Crew had paid more than $760 million in dividends and fees to its ownership group since 2011.”

Boohoo Builds War Chest For Post-Pandemic Deals (The Business of Fashion): “The Manchester-based [Boohoo] … has raised £198 million ($238) for new M&A opportunities, in a private placing that’s left the company with around £500 million in cash … It’s no secret Boohoo has big ambitions. Last August, the company paid £18.2 million for Karen Millen and Coast’s e-commerce businesses … The move suggested dreams of cornering the accessible fashion market and rivalling fast fashion stalwarts H&M and Zara.”

America’s Far Right Is Energised by COVID-19 Lockdowns (The Economist): “Accelerationism is a strange marriage of Marxism and neo-Nazism. The idea is that the internal contradictions of the economic and political order will cause it to collapse. From the ruins, the extreme right can create its ‘nation built on blood and soil’. They see the virus both as evidence of accelerationism’s truth and an excellent opportunity to hasten the system’s demise … Moonshot CVE, an organisation that monitors extremism online, reports that in America the average number of daily searches related to white supremacy … rose from 1,475 between June 2019 and February 2020 to 2,024 between March 30th and April 28th. Far-right Telegram and Facebook groups have grown larger during lockdown.”

No, You Don’t Need All Those Skin-Care Products (The Wall Street Journal): “Experts agree that many skin types will thrive on a combination of the following: a treatment product to spur cellular turnover and exfoliate … an antioxidant like vitamin C, a solid moisturizer, a simple cleanser, and a sunscreen of at least SPF 30. While that formula works for many, it doesn’t work for all.”

Is Ronan Farrow Too Good to Be True? (The New York Times): “Mr. Farrow … is not a fabulist. His reporting can be misleading but he does not make things up. His work, though, reveals the weakness of a kind of resistance journalism that has thrived in the age of Donald Trump: That if reporters swim ably along with the tides of social media and produce damaging reporting about public figures most disliked by the loudest voices, the old rules of fairness and open-mindedness can seem more like impediments than essential journalistic imperatives. That can be a dangerous approach, particularly in a moment when the idea of truth and a shared set of facts is under assault.”

Can a New Chief Bring Commercial Magic Back to Valentino? (The Business of Fashion): “Valentino has named star merchandiser Jacopo Venturini chief executive, effective June 1 … Venturini’s appointment at Valentino underscores the growing importance of merchandisers at leading luxury fashion brands, which today require a perfect alchemy of creative talent, irresistible product, sharp marketing and operational knowhow to succeed. While CEOs tended to be operators in the past, they are increasingly coming from marketing and merchandising backgrounds.”

The Pandemic’s Geopolitical Aftershocks Are Coming (The Atlantic): “Imagine a scenario: Just as Europe and the United States begin to feel as if they have the coronavirus under control, it takes hold in the developing world. Exhausted, indebted, and desperate for their own economies to get back up to speed, richer countries are too slow to help. Panic ensues … Somewhere, a state defaults on debt held largely by Western financial institutions. In the chaos, an autocrat eyes an opportunity for a land grab. A United States already unwilling to take the lead leaves China to step into the void. … for Western governments there is a simple underlying reality to the geopolitical second wave: cash, or a lack of it.”

Why Luxury Brands Are Raising Prices in a Pandemic (The Business of Fashion): “Louis Vuitton raised prices by 3 percent in March and another 5 percent in April. This week, Chanel was even bolder, raising prices … between 5 percent and 17 percent … raising prices will … help Chanel and its competitors to pad margins and cushion the bottom-line impact of lower overall sales volumes as they try to make up for revenue lost during weeks of forced store closures.”

When Shoppers Venture Out, What Will Be Left? (The New York Times): “Retail sales fell 16.4 percent last month … by far the largest monthly drop on record. That followed an 8.3 percent drop in March, the previous record … Restaurants and bars lost half their business over two months. At furniture and home furnishings stores, sales were off by two-thirds. At clothing stores, the two-month decline was 89 percent. Increased sales from online retailers didn’t come close to offsetting the downturn elsewhere.”

Could Travel Bubbles Offer a Route to Economic Recovery? (The Economist): “An idea gaining favour is the creation of travel ‘bubbles’, binding together countries that have fared well against the coronavirus … the public-health requirements for creating the travel bubbles will be vexing. In trade terms, they resemble an extreme version of non-tariff negotiations: countries will need to harmonise their approaches to managing the pandemic. That is a tall order when America and Europe cannot even agree on whether it is safe to wash chickens with chlorine.”

Meet the Men Sewing Their Way Through Isolation (The Wall Street Journal): “As the coronavirus pandemic has left much of the world on lockdown … [some] are filling hollow hours with clothing-centric crafts like embroidery, patchworking and tie-dying. These analog pastimes hark back to a quainter pre-internet time, before streaming programs and Zoom calls. These part-time tinkerers are finding the simple satisfaction in creating something—anything—with their handsCrafting is becoming so common that some at-home artisans are struggling to track down supplies.”

Why Brands Are Revisiting Old Advertising Campaigns (The Business of Fashion): “Recycling old campaigns is an interesting strategy at a time when social media’s penchant for tapping into our collective nostalgia has given rise to highly popular Instagram accounts celebrating fashion from the 1970s, 80s and 90s … As markets across the world brace for a deep recession, putting further pressure on budgets, the uptick in the sourcing of imagery from archives and licensing agencies will likely continue well beyond the current lockdowns.”

How Not to Apologize in Quarantine (The New York Times): “The hard part is finding the motivation to apologize, because it means feeling guilt about having done a bad thing and maybe even some shame at the thought of being a bad person. Psychologists have discovered a good solution to that: When you’ve hurt someone, think about your core values. If compassion, justice or generosity show up on your list, you might realize that apologizing doesn’t mean admitting you’re a bad person. It’s merely a step toward becoming a better person.”

♥ Recently purchased: Express Double Breasted Blazer, Reformation Isabel Cashmere Sweater, True & Co. True Body Lift Scoop Neck Bra, Billabong Belted Romper, Bissell PowerFresh Lift-Off Pet Steam Mop, and Ann Taylor Short Sleeve Belted Romper.

Have a great week, everyone!

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