Weekly Link Roundup

Are you a CeraVe user? I really like their Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin and select facial cleaners (in the warmer months), but find their serums to be inflammatory for my temperamental skin

The Unexpected Skin-Care Brand That’s Everywhere on TikTok (The Business of Fashion): ”CeraVe has seen a 67 percent increase in influencer posts and over 300 percent increase in engagement in the first half of this year compared to 2019 … The attention is translating into sales for L’Oréal. The firm’s active cosmetics division … is the only division that had positive growth in the first six months of this year … CeraVe’s reputation for being cheap and effective plays right into changes underway in the beauty influencer world. The ingredient conversation is important to the new generation of skin-care consumers, who have driven sales of other affordable brands like Deciem’s The Ordinary, which focuses on promoting individual ingredients and building a regimen based on need. CeraVe is a natural fit in this trend because it was touting its proprietary blend of ceramides and lipid molecules that help to protect the skin, long before Instagram even existed … CeraVe launched in 2005 as a mass-market brand with three products — a hydrating cleanser and two different moisturizers … The products were meant to be pillars used before and after dermatologist-prescribed treatments.“

Can Luxury Fashion Ever Regain Its Luster? (The New York Times): “The second quarter of 2020 was the luxury fashion industry’s worst … global luxury sales are set to contract 25 percent to 45 percent this year, with industry growth unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2023 or 2024 … Amazon, whose customers have ordered over one billion fashion items via its mobile app in the last 12 months, has long looked for a way to become partners with luxury names, which had in the past largely rebuffed its advances. Last week, Amazon launched its mobile-only Luxury Stores with one brand: Oscar de la Renta. It said more labels would be announced in the weeks to come.”

No Job, Loads of Debt: Covid Upends Middle-Class Family Finances (The Wall Street Journal): “While lower-wage workers have borne much of the brunt, the crisis is wreaking a particular kind of havoc on the debt-laden middle class … American families with nonhousing debt making over $98,018 a year in pre-tax income owed an average of nearly $92,000 of such debt in 2016. That’s up 32% from 2004 … Average nonhousing debt owed by families making $52,655 to $98,018 rose about 33% over the 12 years to $33,378. Before the pandemic, Americans had amassed $4.2 trillion in consumer debt, excluding mortgages … Unemployment has fallen from its pandemic peak of near 15%, but the rate stood at 8.4% in August, up from 3.5% in February … Unemployment for the arts, design, media, sports and entertainment was 12.7% in August, more than triple its year-earlier level. In education, it more than doubled to 10.2%. Sales and office unemployment was 7.8% in August, up from 3.8% in August 2019. Architects and engineers, who earn $1,826 in average weekly pretax income, well above the $1,389 average among full-time wage and salaried workers, have seen unemployment rise to 3.7% from 0.8% a year earlier. Unemployment for computer and math occupations, which earn $1,919 a week on average, more than tripled to 4.6%.”

The Promise of Designer Protein in the Fight Against COVID-19 (The New Yorker): “Protein design is hard for lots of reasons. Evolution has had billions of years to explore, by trial and error, the combinatorial possibilities of amino acids. … A protein’s components aren’t manufactured separately and then snapped together. Instead, they emerge as a protein chain folds up, more or less instantaneously, into a complex shape. A number of forces shape how proteins fold … Broadly speaking, new advances in protein design have clustered in three main areas. The first is … the construction of proteins that adhere tightly to biological targets … The second … has to do with self-assembly—the creation of small proteins that join together to make something larger … The third … has to do with functionality: the creation of proteins with flexible, moving parts … The road to pandemic cures, and much else, may be paved by some combination of physics-based simulations, generative neural networks, directed evolution, and hobbyists playing Foldit under lockdown.”

It’s Not Hypocrisy (Slate): “Many of us are coping with that lacerating redefinition by knowingly rolling our eyes. Ginsburg’s death hurts, but more than one strain of political grief is operative. This is why so many political reactions at present seem to orbit around the question of whether an unwanted outcome was unexpected. ‘And you’re surprised?’ is a frequent response to some new instance of Trumpian corruption. This brand of cynicism has spread, quite understandably: It’s an outlook that provides some cognitive shelter in a situation that—having historically been at least somewhat rule-bound—has one side shredding the rules and cheering at how much they’re winning. Folks who at one point gave Republican declarations of principle the benefit of the doubt … feel like chumps now. Conversely, the cynical prognosticators who used to seem crabbed and paranoid just keep getting proven right. Whatever the worst thing you imagine McConnell doing might be, he can usually trump it.”

Wall Street’s Return-to-Office Push Finds Virus Won’t Cooperate (Bloomberg): “Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays Plc all had to quarantine groups of traders after employees tested positive for the coronavirus. The setbacks threaten a ramp-up of return-to-office efforts that executives have said are necessary to preserve productivity and firm cultures.”

Stop Overengineering People Management (HBR): “… management views on how to get the most out of workers were deeply divided: One camp subscribed to the view that workers had to be tightly controlled and directed; the other believed that workers contributed much more when they had the freedom to express their ideas and take initiative … McGregor labeled the first approach Theory X and the second Theory Y … The grand challenge for managers isn’t to choose between Theory X and Theory Y. Rather, it’s to find the mix of practices that actually, not theoretically, works.”

Law Firms Pay Supreme Court Clerks $400,000 Bonuses. What Are They Buying? (The New York Times): “In a profession obsessed with shiny credentials, a Supreme Court clerkship glitters. Hiring former clerks burnishes the firms’ prestige, making them more attractive to clients … Former clerks have come to dominate Supreme Court arguments. In the past 15 years … about 75 percent of arguments before the court included at least one former clerk.”

What Can Mayors Do When the Police Stop Doing Their Jobs? (ProPublica): “Rises and falls in crime rates are notoriously hard to explain definitively. Scholars still don’t agree on the causes of a decadeslong nationwide decline in crime. Still, some academics who have studied the phenomenon in recent years see evidence that rising rates of violence in cities that have experienced high-profile incidents of police brutality are driven by police pullbacks … big-city mayors … face a daunting challenge. They have to navigate two problems at the same time: reining in overpolicing while also preventing underpolicing, the consequences of which are every bit as dire. And a great many lives are riding on how well they pull that off.”

What Is Happening With TikTok and WeChat as Trump Tries to Ban Them? (The New York Times): “Americans will no longer be able to download TikTok or WeChat from the Apple and Google Play app stores. WeChat users in the United States will not be able to use the messaging app for sending payments, among other features.”

Line & Dot Alder Sweater (now on further sale in several colorways; also loving the L&D new arrivals, especially the Victoria Duster Cardigan) // Ballet Pink // Size XS

Millions Are House-Rich but Cash-Poor. Wall Street Landlords Are Ready. (The Wall Street Journal): ” … Some 3.5 million home loans—a 7.01% share—were in forbearance as of Sept. 6 … Many more borrowers are behind on their payments but not in forbearance programs with their lenders … The most house-hungry … investors are the rental companies formed a decade ago to gobble up foreclosed homes by the thousands. They were expanding before the pandemic, wagering on a permanent suburban rental class. The economic distress brought by the lockdown has only made investors more excited about such companies’ prospects. So far these companies have reported record occupancy, on-time rent collection on par with historical averages and rising rents. Shares of the two largest landlords, Invitation Homes Inc. and American Homes 4 Rent, are up 79% and 59%, respectively, since stocks bottomed on March 23 … Investors have bought nearly $900 million of new shares sold by the two largest rental companies since the pandemic began. Other home-rental operations have also sold nearly $6 billion of rent-backed bonds, including three deals presently in the market.”

Covid Is Turning Us All Into Hipsteaders (Bloomberg): “Just as victory gardeners supplemented rations and boosted morale during the World Wars, the DIYers of coronavirus are facing quarantines and shortages with a mix of survivalist bravado and self-expression. Many are skipping the usual retailers, and instead turning to recycled goods, small businesses or individuals for their needs … The number of people who want to spend more time raising chickens after the pandemic is 4%, the same as web design. Beekeeping came in at 2%, equaling 3D printing.”

Housekeepers Face a Disaster Generations in the Making (The New York Times): “The pandemic has had devastating consequences for a wide variety of occupations, but housekeepers have been among the hardest hit. Seventy-two percent of them reported that they had lost all of their clients by the first week of April … The pandemic has laid bare not just the vulnerability of housekeepers to economic shocks but their total lack of leverage. Several workers said they had clients who would not let anyone clean who has had Covid-19; others know clients who will hire only Covid survivors, on the theory that after their recovery, they pose no health risk. Housekeepers are often given strict instructions about how they can commute, and are quizzed about whether and how much they interact with others. But they have no idea whether their employers are taking similar precautions. Nor, in many cases, are they accorded the simple decencies that are part of formal employment.”

Home Shopping’s Fight to Stay Relevant (Vogue Business): “QVC … is seeing sales rise during the pandemic. Revenue for QVC and sister network HSN was up 7 per cent in the US in its recent quarter. It is catering to a new audience by launching exclusive products with influencers, partnering with prestige beauty brands and expanding beyond live TV broadcasts. Parent company Qurate Retail Group added 2 million new customers in the same quarter, and sales were up 10 per cent while America was largely under lockdown … QVC and HSN have a unique advantage in both production value and loyal viewers; QVC US’s best customers purchase 70 items a year and engage with the company daily.”

In Five Hours, Daniel Kamensky Destroyed His Career. Why? (Institutional Investor): “‘There was an element, mentally, of entitlement because he had spent years chasing these guys’ … In bankruptcy proceedings the job of an unsecured creditors’ committee is to maximize the potential recovery of assets for the benefit of everyone on the committee. Indeed, it has a fiduciary duty to do so. For some committee members this may run headlong into their own interests.”

Why The Career Sacrifices Women Make During the Coronavirus Pandemic Could Be Long-Lasting (The Wall Street Journal): “Census Bureau data from 2018 showed that about 70% of husbands in dual-income heterosexual couples earned more than their wives. That disparity comes into play when considering who will care for children, since employers historically leave it to families to manage on their own. Roughly 6% of employers offered subsidized child care in 2020, and only 19% of employers made emergency or backup child-care services available to employees … on average, women were spending 15 hours more a week on domestic labor than men were, at 65 hours versus 50 hours. Before the pandemic, women spent 35 hours compared to mens’ 25 hours.”

Her Husband Abused Her. But Getting a Divorce Was an Ordeal. (The New York Times): “It was only in recent years that domestic violence came to be seen as a significant problem in China, where laws are largely made and enforced by men, and families are discouraged from airing their problems in public. Several high-profile cases have drawn attention to the issue, and one city in eastern China recently began allowing people to check if their partners have a history of abuse before marrying them. But victims often meet resistance in the legal system, which can discourage them from seeking help. Though China’s marriage law specifies that domestic violence is sufficient grounds for divorce, many courts encourage couples to try reconciling in the name of social and family harmony.”

♥ Recently purchased: UGG® Lucille Hoodie Dress, Abercrombie & Fitch Puff Sleeve Cropped Cardigan, Lioness Military Minds Mini Dress (newly available in a long-sleeved version; more Lioness new arrivals here), Free People Sheer Romance Minidress, Iittala Taika Dinnerware Collection (more colorways here), and ASOS Nipped in Waist Mini Dress.

Have a great week, everyone!

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