Weekend Link Roundup

♥ Happy (almost) National French Fry Day! Tomorrow (07/13/2020) only, get free (or almost-free) fries at McDonald’s (free medium fry, no additional purchase necessary), KFC (30¢ individual fry with any purchase), Burger King ($1 large fries using the app), and White Castle (free small fry; find offer on app).

What is the Right Price for Fashion? (Vogue): It” would be reckless to claim that every low-priced good was made by an underpaid laborer, but it’s also just simple math … The ‘race to the bottom’ has totally ruined our perception of value; we literally have no idea what our clothes (or food, or anything else) should cost, and low prices have become so normalized that we don’t even second-guess them.”

Is Anyone Watching Quibi? (Vulture): “Quibi, the brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Disney studio head and DreamWorks co-founder, had promised to reinvent television by streaming high-quality content in ten-minute-or-less chunks … at a monthly cost of $4.99 (with ads) or $7.99 (without ads) … For producers of unscripted shows, Quibi offered a rare chance to make their silliest ideas … Quibi’s future seemed unlimited … when it launched on April 6 … Instead, Quibi has foundered. The app’s ranking dropped to No. 284 by mid-June.”

Digital Dior. Remote Chanel. What’s Couture With No Runway? (The New York Times): “… thinking of these digital shows as shows is probably wrong in the first place. They were more like a joint declaration of belief: We’re still here!”

How the Rich Are Shopping Right Now (The Business of Fashion): “Luxury spending plummeted 72 percent in early April and was still down 37 percent in early June compared with a year earlier … Wealthy shoppers’ biggest purchases tend to be designed for showing off. But in the US at least, it’s not clear when the next opportunity to walk the red carpet will be … One silver lining from the study is that spending by the wealthy hasn’t disappeared completely. While they’re steering clear of occasionwear, they are also splurging on beauty, skincare, lingerie and expensive pajamas.”

Beware of Bargains at Shopping Malls (The Wall Street Journal): “… mall REITs headed into this crisis brimming with debt. European names have average net borrowings of 13.4 times projected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization … U.S. peers carry slightly less. It is increasingly difficult to judge where their rental income will settle in the future. Less than one-third of rent due for April was collected by U.S. mall landlords … Debtholders are bearish about the creditworthiness of mall tenants. The yield on 10-year bonds issued by fashion brands in Europe has increased by nearly 4 percentage points since March to 6.6%.”

♥ (Video Link) Dior Autumn-Winter 2020-2021 Haute Couture (Christian Dior on YouTube)

Muji Starts Home Furniture Subscriptions as Work Habits Change (Bloomberg): “Muji is offering monthly and annual subscriptions for office and lounge furniture sets … An oak desk and chair set costs as little as 800 yen ($7) a month, depending on the length of the contract … The idea isn’t necessarily new. Ikea announced last year that it would start testing furniture rentals in 30 markets starting in 2020. Even in Japan, known for long work hours in the office, businesses are starting to embrace the idea of remote work.”

Select Uniqlo styles are now on final sale, prices as marked: Shipping is free on orders over $99, or free on the first order for people who register online for the first time. My picks: Uniqlo High-Neck Sleeveless T-Shirt, Uniqlo Draped Relaxed Tapered Ankle Pants, Lacy Boat Neck Short-Sleeve Sweater, Belted Linen Rayon Long Skirt, Linen Blended Short-Sleeve Cocoon Dress, Soft Knitted Jersey Long-Sleeve Set, U Slim Tapered Ankle Jeans, 3D Cotton Balloon 3/4 Sleeve Sweater, 2-Way Ribbed Lace Tank Top, Linen Blended A-Line Sleeveless Dress, Crepe Jersey Tapered Pants, Bow Tie Sleeveless Blouse, Ponte Slim Pants, Marimekko Espadrilles, Linen Blended Long-Sleeve Shirt Dress, Beauty Light Wireless Bra, U Blocktech Shoulder Bag, and Uniqlo Belted Linen Rayon Wide Pants.

Our Cash-Free Future Is Getting Closer (The New York Times): “Before the pandemic, bills and coins were used for 80 percent of the transactions in Europe, and there are few signs that the pandemic is about to wipe it out. Yet for a growing number of people sensitized by Covid-19 quarantines, cash is a fading routine … Propelling the trend is a surge in online shopping as homebound consumers turn to digital tools for basic items. In the United States, 40 million customers went online for groceries in April. In Italy, where cash is king, the volume of e-commerce transactions has surged more than 80 percent.”

Live-Streaming Craze Turns Into a Lifeline for China’s Stores (The Wall Street Journal): “Live streaming has taken Chinese retail into a new phase … Most retailers stream via the handful of megaplatforms that dominate China’s e-commerce and social media, such as Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall sites, JD.com and WeChat. Their interactive features allow viewers to chat with hosts, call up product information and make single-click purchases mid-show … E-commerce was highly developed in China before the pandemic, driven by the near-universal use of mobile payments. It accounted for roughly a quarter of all retail sales last year, but jumped to a record 29% in the first quarter. In the U.S., by comparison, around 12% of retail sales were online last year.”

Tiffany Amends Debt Pacts for Financial Leeway Amid Pandemic, Slump in Sales (Reuters): “Tiffany & Co … said … it had amended some of its debt agreements to gain more financial leeway amid the coronavirus pandemic after its quarterly sales sank 44% … The acquisition [by LVMH], scheduled to be completed in mid-2020, has yet to receive some of the necessary regulatory approvals … Net sales nearly halved to $555.5 million in the first quarter, while it posted a loss of $64.6 million compared with a profit of $125.2 million a year earlier. Tiffany said sales were on a recovery path in the key Chinese market … although revenues were still down 40% globally in May.”

What Do You Do When Your Favorite Brand Behaves Badly? (Fashionista): “The public can be very fickle. And with fashion already suffering the impact of months’ long losses due to Covid-19, being cancelled could be the final nail in the coffin … Though we don’t really have data on whether the internet’s ‘cancel culture’ has any substantial impact on a company’s bottom line, the quick responses of some of these brands to allegations of racist behavior is a good indicator that they take it seriously.”

What’s the Value of Harvard Without a Campus? (The New York Times): “… Harvard announced it would allow only up to 40 percent of its nearly 6,800 undergraduates on campus in the fall, the vast majority of them freshmen, and that all classes would be held online … Life on Harvard’s campus was meant to offer students the possibility of forming relationships with well-connected peers and professors, a social environment that could multiply opportunities. Now, the experience has narrowed into what is possible through a computer screen.”

Kanye West Wants Shopping To Be Art (GQ): “E-commerce has always been a tricky proposition in fashion—too fancy and it’s unnavigable; too simple … and it seems like a suspicious place to buy an $800 jacket. Only about 9% of luxury transactions happen online … Attempts to make e-commerce more immersive, interactive, or visually dynamic are largely avoided because technological innovation over the past decade has emphasized efficiency as luxury’s primary proposition: the highest luxury, e-commerce has long promoted, might just be getting anything really quickly … The new website … takes its inspiration from the most lo-fi, functional e-commerce sites—those for medical supply companies, for example, or commercial paint businesses … But it won’t look quite like a medical-supply site: instead, the clothes are displayed in a floating, simplistic galaxy that allows users to buy with just a few clicks, but there is also an option to select an avatar who will try on the pieces, and a ‘waiting room’ that will appear when a new shoe drops. It makes shopping online at once simpler and more personal—eliminating what are considered the two major roadblocks for e-commerce dominance.”

Kanye West Wants to Bring Yeezy Production to Wyoming (The Business of Fashion): “… the designer and musician announced plans to create jobs and begin domestic manufacturing on both footwear and apparel in Wyoming … Wyoming is an unusual choice to serve as the centre of a fast-growing fashion empire. The state … has virtually no textile industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 100 people in the state were employed as sewing machine operators … as of May 2019. Workers would likely need to be brought in from out of state, as Cody’s population was just below 10,000 in 2018.”

This Hashtag Unlocked $16 Billion of Lost Wages Due to Cancelled Orders From Gap, Levi’s, and Other Brands (Vogue): “The #PayUp social media campaign is anchored by a petition calling for the brands to pay the garment workers what they’re owed. Currently, the petition has gathered over 200,000 signatures and … Levi’s agreed to pay. Others that have paid up include Nike, Zara, Ralph Lauren, and H&M. The campaign has unlocked around $1 billion in Bangladesh and $15 billion globally, which accounts for over one-third of the $40 billion worth of wages owed to garment workers at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.”

‘I Don’t Want to Go Back’: Many Teachers Are Fearful and Angry Over Pressure to Return (The New York Times): “Teachers say crucial questions about how schools will stay clean, keep students physically distanced and prevent further spread of the virus have not been answered. And they feel that their own lives, and those of the family members they come home to, are at stake … More than one-quarter of public schoolteachers are over the age of 50 … educators have had to process a head-spinning set of conflicting health and safety guidelines from Washington, states and medical experts … With many teachers reluctant to return to work … staffing will be a major challenge for districts across the country. New York estimates that about 1 in 5 of its teachers will receive a medical exemption to teach remotely this fall.”

♥ Recently ordered: UA Sportsmask, Deny Designs Stripe Blackout Window Panel, Endless Rose Lace Trim Dress, Uniqlo Minnie x AMBUSH 2-Way Bag, and A&F Bobble Cropped Cardigan.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everyone!

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