Weekly Link Roundup: August 28, 2020

Puff-sleeved Sweater (Yes, the material composition–Polyester 52%, Acrylic 38%, Wool 8%, Elastane 2%–is iffy, but it’s so cute! Will report back if it’s a keeper)

♥ Have you shopped at H&M recently? Their new arrivals look good… and I couldn’t resist placing an order this week. What I ordered: Puff-sleeved Sweater, Tie-belt Jacket, Lyocell-blend Dress, Rhinestone-button Fluffy Top, and Off-the-shoulder Sweater.

“This Plane Is Not Going to Land in Cairo”: Saudi Prince Sultan Boarded a Flight in Paris. Then, He Disappeared (Vanity Fair): “Sultan bin Turki II, like Prince Mohammed, is a grandson of Saudi Arabia’s founder … Sultan decided the Saudi government owed him compensation for the injuries from his 2003 kidnapping … In a Swiss court, he sued members of the royal family for the kidnapping … By the time Kingdom Centre Tower … came into view, pandemonium had broken out. Non-Saudi members of Sultan’s entourage demanded to know what would happen to them, landing in Saudi Arabia without visas and against their will. ‘Give me my gun!’ shouted Prince Sultan, weak and wheezing. One of his guards refused. Captain Saud’s men had guns, and a shoot-out on a plane seemed worse than whatever would happen on the ground. So Sultan sat silently until they touched down. There was no way to fight, and Captain Saud’s men shuffled the prince down the Jetway. It’s the last time anyone in his entourage saw him … The operation silenced an irritating critic, teaching a lesson to any other would-be dissidents in the royal family.”

‘The Big Short 2.0’: How Hedge Funds Profited Off the Pain of Malls (The New York Times): “So far this year, 16 percent of all retail industry loans are delinquent … The CMBX 6, which tracks the performance of mortgages issued in 2012, has been a target for short-sellers because of its relatively strong exposure to malls … 40 percent of the property loans tracked by the CMBX 6 are in the retail sector, giving it the highest exposure to retailers of any CMBX index … To short any CMBX index — there are 13, each tied to a different origination year for commercial mortgages — investors pay various fees, including an annual amount to hold what is essentially an insurance policy that pays out if the mortgages the index tracks default. Those fees might be $300,000 to $500,000 a year for every $10 million of insurance the investor wants to hold.”

How to Make Your Sale Stand Out (The Business of Fashion): “In fashion, ‘the well has been poisoned’ by discounting … companies are better off holding discount events a few times a year … Brands that aren’t disciplined about sales also condition shoppers to spend less … the promise of access can foster loyalty among shoppers, which ultimately helps a retailer’s bottom line … Exclusive shopping events convince those key consumers to spend more.”

Did Pangolin Trafficking Cause the Coronavirus Pandemic? (The New Yorker): “Pangolin is commonly consumed in Cameroon, as in many different parts of Central Africa and also in Asia … They are elusive creatures, seldom seen even by those who spend considerable time walking in African forests … pangolins are disastrously susceptible to capture by humans. When they are attacked or challenged, their default mode of defense is to roll into a ball, like a pill bug, scales on the outside, tender parts within … Pangolins are also susceptible to coronaviruses, and that trait has given them an unexpected role in the mystery of how SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus, found its way into people. Sampling of tissues from dead pangolins has shown that some carry viruses very similar to SARS-CoV-2 … The evidence is complicated. And the question is only more charged given that all eight pangolin species are presently being pushed toward extinction. Their possible involvement in the COVID-19 story gives them a weird ambivalence, endangered and (perhaps) dangerous … The scientific discussion of the pandemic’s origins is still in kaleidoscopic flux.”

♥ A gentle reminder: the care package giveaway from last week’s WLR ends next Monday, so don’t forget to enter if you meant to.

Pair of Entrepreneurs Aim to Refashion Zombie Retailers Into Online Powerhouses (The Wall Street Journal): “Retail Ecommerce Ventures LLC … has been on the hunt for distressed retailers … The recent wave of corporate bankruptcies has shown intellectual property, or IP, is one of the most valuable assets a struggling business holds … Troubled companies have been selling their intellectual property out of bankruptcy to cash in on brand names, trademarks, website domains and social-media accounts, as well as lists with mailing and email addresses of customers.”

What Ellen’s Kindness Concealed (The Atlantic): “DeGeneres has gilded her agreeability with kindness. Or not kindness but Kindness, the type you capitalize. This means ostentatious giveaways to audience members, big philanthropic efforts, and dramatic interventions for people in need: excellent uses of fame and wealth … Cutting the schmaltz, all along, has been an intelligent coldness. Her stand-up regards humans from a clinical distance, addressing topics that include airline food and abusive parenting with a bemused ‘Huh!’ … in having her facade ripped away, one of pop culture’s greatest people pleasers may have finally given the worst portions of her audience what they’ve always wanted.”

The Only Constant in Life Is Celebrity Beauty Brands (The Cut): “… JLo Beauty … is coming soon … Back in 2018, after creating a successful 70-item capsule collection with makeup brand Inglot, Lopez revealed that she’d be coming out with a skin-care line … In December 2019 … Lopez filed a trademark for JLo Beauty.”

Convicted of Sex Crimes, but With No Victims (The New York Times): “Since 2015, nearly 300 men in cities and towns across Washington State have been arrested in online-predator stings, most of them run by the State Patrol and code-named Operation Net Nanny. The men range in age from 17 to 77, though about a quarter are 25 or younger. As many as two dozen have been rounded up in a single sting and charged with attempted rape of a child … even though no actual children were involved. The emails and texts offering sex are written by undercover officers … The law, however, doesn’t distinguish between the truly dangerous and the low-risk. Without alternative sentencing — which might be a mix of community supervision by a parole officer, mandated therapy, a short jail term and, in some cases, waiving the registry requirement — there is no middle ground … In Washington, there are several criteria to qualify for an alternative sentence … The stumbling block? To be eligible for the alternative sentence, defendants must also have ‘an established relationship with, or connection to, the victim’ … In Washington, a man could be caught fondling his niece and potentially qualify for an alternative sentence, but if he sends lewd texts to an undercover detective, he does not.”

♥ This weekend only, take an extra 50% off sale styles at Anthropologie, no code needed, discount taken in cart. Shipping is free on orders over $50. My picks: Farm Rio Nisa Linen Mini Dress, Seafarer Mini Dress, Colette Silk Cami, Lisabetta Embroidered Buttondown, Lelyah Scalloped Top, Farm Rio Mitra Halter Maxi Dress, and Orchid Mini Dress (love!).

I Wanna Marry Harry Failed Spectacularly. The Contestants Remember Everything. (Refinery29): “… tricking women into thinking they were after Prince Charming when they were really pursuing a frog … wasn’t new … But I Wanna Marry Harry took this conceit to a whole new level. The women … arrived in England to meet a mystery suitor who looked a whole lot like Prince Harry. Later, they’re literally told it is. Audiences, however, were clued in on the sham from the beginning, while the contestants got sucked further and further into the elaborate facade … It wasn’t easy for producers to convince the contestants they were dating Prince Harry. Throughout much of filming, many of the women didn’t know what to believe. Three contestants … painted a picture of vulnerability and confusion that was achieved through isolation techniques, heavy-handed clues, and just plain gaslighting from the producers, resulting in one of the most ludicrous, elaborate — but ultimately forgotten — reality shows of the past decade.”

The Real China Reshoring Isn’t What You Think (The Wall Street Journal): “China’s domestic air-passenger traffic in June was down 34% from a year earlier, but has been rising steadily in the past few months. That is a contrast to international passenger traffic, which was still down 98% … China sales at Kering, which owns brands like Gucci and Saint Laurent, were up over 40% year-over-year in the second quarter. BMW delivered 17% more cars in China from a year earlier in the quarter … China’s “consumption reshoring” could amount to $140 billion to $165 billion this year.”

♥ (A great article in podcast form!) Sunday Read: ‘Sweatpants Forever‘ (The Daily by The New York Times)

The Case for Opening a New Store Right Now (The Business of Fashion): “Foot traffic in stores remains 50 percent below normal levels. Landlords and tenants are suing each other over unpaid rent …A store will only be useful today if it could offer one of two functions … speed and convenience, or an exceptional brand experience. Anything less will be written off by shoppers.”

What Harm Do Minimum Wages Do? (The Economist): A survey of [American Economic Association] members in 1992 found that 79% of respondents agreed that a minimum wage increases unemployment among young and low-skilled workers … By 2000 only 46% of AEA members were certain that a minimum wage increased unemployment among the young and low-skilled … Who pays for the minimum wage? In theory a higher cost base could be passed on to consumers through higher prices, or absorbed by employers through lower profit margins. In reality the answer varies by market. In competitive sectors, such as fast food, research has found that a 10% increase in the wage floor pushes up burger prices by just 0.9%. In 2019 a study of supermarkets in Seattle found no impact on grocery prices from big increases.

The Great Diet Crash (The New York Times): “Critics of the F-Factor … have asked Ms. Zuckerbrot to release a certificate of analysis — a statement from a third-party lab confirming a product has been tested for contaminants like microbes, pesticides and heavy metals. Ms. Zuckerbrot had repeatedly declined, saying the information is proprietary, but now says she will release the information.”

♥ Recently purchased: Mali + Lili Adult Four Layer Adult Mask Scarf, Sézane Amy Blouse, Soludos Lauren Ankle Wrap Espadrille Sandal, and S MAX MARA Connie Double-Breasted Wool Coat.

Stay safe, everyone!

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