Weekly Link Roundup: March 14, 2021

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Canada Goose is Solving the Big, Puffy One-Product Problem (Bloomberg): “Canada Goose … has long had a one-product problem. The market for a four-figure sleeping bag of a coat, well, it’s not infinite … [it] needs to widen the product line or the customer base … The company’s direct-to-consumer sales in China surged 42% in the last quarter of 2020 … Then there’s the product. The masks sold out quickly and will stay on the expanding list of skus. Canada Goose now makes sweaters, fleece jackets, raincoats, and scads of things more appropriate for the shoulder seasons than a nuclear winter. In the fall, it will unveil a line of footwear.”

Hermès Bets on Mushroom ‘Leather’ (The Business of Fashion): “The brand’s ‘Victoria’ travel bag has been reimagined in canvas, elements of calfskin and Sylvania, an amber-hued material Hermès has developed in partnership with MycoWorks, a California-based start-up that has developed a patented process to turn mycelium — a network of threads from the root structure of mushrooms — into a material that imitates the properties of leather … MycoWorks … closed a $45 million series B funding round last year … Its Fine Mycelium material can be grown to size in the lab and further honed during the cultivation process.”

Do You Really Need to Fly? (The New York Times): “Face-to-face interactions were said to justify the $1.4 trillion spent globally on business travel in 2019 [… Americans took more than 400 million trips for work in 2019]. In 2020, business travel was slashed in half … and yet many of the companies used to spending boatloads on travel are doing just fine … Aviation is a modern miracle; it is also expensive, annoying and environmentally costly. Now that videoconferencing has been shown to be an acceptable way to get work done, there’s no reason to quit it when the virus is gone. We can all afford to be much more judicious about traveling for work, even if Zoom isn’t perfect.”

Adoption Moved to Facebook and a War Began (Wired): “The anti-adoption movement lives in Facebook groups and on blogs with names like the Wounded Adoptee, Changing the Adoption Narrative, and Adopted Ball of Hate, and it is comprised of people who wouldn’t have found each other elsewhere: older women who, as ‘unwed mothers’ in the 1950s and ’60s, were forced to give babies up for adoption; women whose churches still pressure them to give up children born outside of marriage; adoptees who want to overturn laws in 40 states that deny them unrestricted access to their original birth certificates … Many anti-adoption advocates, as well as some experts in child-welfare reform, argue that helping families get what they need—rehab, food stamps, child care subsidies—should be prioritized over permanently removing children from their parents … Other child advocates, however, point out that, whatever its cause, neglect can be profoundly damaging to children.”

Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene (The Atlantic): “Parents at elite private schools sometimes grumble about taking nothing from public schools yet having to support them via their tax dollars. But the reverse proposition is a more compelling argument. Why should public-school parents … be expected to support private schools? … The inescapable truth is that money guides all sorts of decisions at these schools … schools are investing more and more in the ‘parent-school relationship,’ which is excellent from the standpoint of fundraising but not necessarily from that of schooling.”

In Retail, Discovery Is Dying (The Business of Fashion): “… brands across all categories are looking to reduce risk. No marketer wants to risk wasting their ad dollars. No merchant wants to risk lower turns. No online marketplace wants to risk losing even one click. The result is that consumers are shown only what’s congruent with the data. Ironically though, it’s incongruity that forms the essence of discovery. It’s only when we’re nudged outside our comfort zone of patterned preferences that delightful discovery can happen.”

The Lost Year: What the Pandemic Cost Teenagers (ProPublica): “As time has gone on, evidence has grown on one side of the equation: the harm being done to children by restricting their ‘circulation.’ There is the well-documented fall-off in student academic performance at schools that have shifted to virtual learning, which … is exacerbating racial and class divides in achievement. This toll has led a growing number of epidemiologists, pediatricians and other physicians to argue for reopening schools as broadly as possible, amid growing evidence that schools are not major venues for transmission of the virus. As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019.”

Homebuyers Are Heading to Florida During Covid, but Nearly as Many Are Moving Out (The Wall Street Journal): “Amid the pandemic, Florida politicians and real-estate developers have promoted the narrative that hedge-fund execs and tech workers, in search of warm weather and low taxes, are abandoning New York and California en masse and putting down roots in Florida … Far less discussed, however, is the fact that each year nearly as many people move out of Florida as move in. They are fleeing hurricanes, heat and escalating home prices … the state’s population growth has slowed in the pandemic to its lowest rate since 2014 … Between April 2020 and April 2021, however, the population is expected to grow by 1.38%, or 297,851 people.”

Welcome to the Circus (Vulture): “For the better part of a decade, Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star, and many other savvy creators used the internet’s predisposition to sensationalism to deny and start drama. If your clickbait is shocking enough, “exposing” people boosts your channel while tearing down a competitor … As YouTubers face increasing legal scrutiny, they’ve been hit with a tidal wave of accountability, giving way to the rise of the watchful commentary genre and altering the way we consume influencers … As that evolution has occurred, we’ve witnessed a transference of control among YouTube’s influencer economy, from creators to consumers. Calling out influencers is a team sport now; last summer’s Drama Olympics saw Twitter sleuths and commentary channels converge to try and cancel Star and Dawson for good. Meanwhile, the internet battled its own virus: influencers’ complete disregard of the pandemic in favor of flexing on their followers. Audiences needed researched, fact-checked, and fair reporting on influencers. And so, a new kind of clout chaser, one who cared more about the story than the subject, logged on.”

Why Condé Nast Has Stood By Teen Vogue’s Alexi McCammond (The Business of Fashion): “Condé Nast’s senior leadership, including … Anna Wintour, were aware of McCammond’s past tweets — which mocked Asians and included homophobic comments — before her hire … McCammond’s exit would likely create more problems for Condé Nast. It would be a clear admission of bad judgement in hiring her … On Twitter, McCammond had her defenders, who argued that her age (she was a teenager when she published some of the tweets in question) was a factor, but the support came largely from an older cohort, not the Teen Vogue target demographic. Overall, the comments on social media in recent days have been overwhelmingly negative.”

Victims of Unemployment-Benefit Fraud Face Tax-Season Surprise (The Wall Street Journal): “Victims are often confused when they receive fraudulent 1099-Gs. Many states recommend that victims freeze their credit and report the fraud through the state unemployment agency’s website or fraud hotlines … The IRS has been urging taxpayers to not include income from fraudulent 1099-Gs on tax returns and to seek corrected forms from states. But it isn’t yet clear how the IRS is handling situations in which there is a mismatch between forms received by the government and money received by the individual.”

His Ancestors Were German Kings. He Wants Their Treasures Back. (The New York Times): “As the current head of the Hohenzollern dynasty, which spawned the kings of Prussia for 300 years and emperors of Germany for half a century, Prinz von Preussen, 44, has been negotiating with officials since 2014 over the ownership of royal treasures … that were confiscated from his family in eastern Germany after World War II and are now part of museum collections … If Prinz von Preussen pursues the case in court, success could hinge on how much support his great-grandfather, Crown Prince Wilhelm, gave to the Nazis in the 1930s. Under German law, if a court deems someone lent the Nazis ‘substantial support,’ then their family is not eligible for compensation or restitution of lost property.”

People Are Keeping Their Vaccines Secret (The Atlantic): “Many of the recipients of these early jabs have chosen to hide them from even close friends and family … The reasons behind the vaccinees’ reticence ran the gamut: Some worried that they would be accused of line hopping; others were wary of exposing the criteria that had qualified them … But they were united by what we might call shot self-consciousness—the worry about how their shots will be perceived by others.”

What Happens When Investment Firms Acquire Trailer Parks (The New Yorker): “In the U.S., approximately twenty million people … live in mobile homes, which are also known as manufactured housing … mobile-home parks now compose one of the largest sources of nonsubsidized low-income housing in the country … sophisticated investors have turned to mobile-home parks as a growing market. They see the parks as reliable sources of passive income … Several of the world’s largest investment-services firms … have spent billions of dollars to buy mobile-home communities from independent owners … Residents of such parks can buy their mobile homes, but often they must rent the land that their homes sit on, and in many states they are excluded from the basic legal protections that cover tenants in rented houses or apartments, such as mandatory notice periods for rent increases and evictions. One sign that a large investment firm has taken over a neighborhood is a dramatic spike in lot rent. Once a home is stationed on a lot, it is not always possible to move it; if it is possible, doing so can cost as much as ten thousand dollars. Most buyers aren’t eligible for fifteen- or thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages, so many of them finance their homes with high-interest “chattel loans,” made against personal property.”

Is a New Model for Manufacturing Finally Here? (The Business of Fashion): “Saitex says … Its new factory is highly automated, equipped with all the latest tech, from 3D cutting to auto-sewing to a ‘dancing box’ that requires only 0.6L of recycled water to wash each garment … convincing brands that produce en masse to implement on-demand manufacturing remains an uphill battle. For one, it requires upfront investment. It also costs more per item to manufacture in small batches, a hard hump to get over, even though items made this way are more likely to be sold at full price, resulting in increased profits.”

♥ Recently purchased: Sézane Orion Jumper, Fjällräven Samlaren Kånken Backpack, LEGO Trafalgar Square Building Kit, Ann Taylor Henley Puff Sleeve Sweater Tee, Ferrero Crispy Easter Eggs, Everlane The Mariner Sweater, and Reformation Waffle Zip Top.

Have a great week, everyone!

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