♥ It’s Prime Day again. If you are an Amazon Prime member, don’t miss out on the $10 promotional credit when you buy $40 in Amazon Gift Cards (enter GCPRIME2021 at checkout). Other Prime Day picks: Levi’s Ribcage Straight Ankle Jeans, iRobot Roomba i6+ (6550) Robot Vacuum with Automatic Dirt Disposal, sodastream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker, Lacoste Embroidered Crocodile Cotton Cap, and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (and here are some more-reasonably priced headphones from Sony).
♥ Does Chanel’s Stance on E-Commerce Make Sense? (The Business of Fashion): “The company’s sales sagged 18 percent last year, slightly under-performing LVMH and Kering and significantly lagging accessories powerhouse Hermès. It’s the first time the privately held Chanel has failed to record double-digit growth since it started publishing financial results four years ago. Operating profit plummeted 41 percent … Chanel doesn’t sell its core fashion and accessories products online, so when stores shut, consumers lost access to the brand’s most coveted items. Though the company sells perfume, cosmetics and eyewear online (and saw sales on the channel more than double last year), its clothes, bags, shoes and jewellery remain available exclusively via its network of boutiques. To be sure, Chanel still sold $10.1 billion worth of products last year. And sales are already back to double-digit growth … But the pandemic turbocharged online luxury sales and there is already evidence that the shift to e-commerce may stick, if not at lockdown levels then at least above sales volumes seen pre-pandemic … Online is fashion’s new battleground and refusing to do e-commerce is like going to war without a weapon … Presenting a beautiful product to a consumer scrolling online, without letting them buy it is ‘the worst experience you can offer to the client’ … it reflects an old-fashioned strategy that won’t resonate with the new generation of luxury consumers.”
♥ ‘Jardigan’ Is the New Blazer: Welcome to the New Office Dress Code (Yahoo!): “M.M.LaFleur[‘s] … new line, which includes a ‘jardigan,’ or blazer made out of soft cardigan material, has been booming. Before the country went into lockdown last spring, casual work wear made up about 25 percent of M.M.LaFleur sales; now, it’s 60 percent … But shoppers aren’t just looking for comfort in their clothes. After a year in grey sweatpants, colors and prints are an opportunity to change up their attire. Gen Z is largely driving this maximalism trend, bucking the minimalism of their millennial counterparts. An April report from Pinterest found Gen Z led a 14-fold increase in searches for ‘zebra pants,’ a 12-fold increase in ‘plaid pleated skirt’ and a 133-fold increase in ’60s and ’70s fashion’ between the first quarter of last year and the same time this year.”
♥ Why ’90s Spaghetti Straps Are Trending This Summer (The Wall Street Journal): “If you plan to venture beyond your backyard in these revealing tops—paired perhaps with light-wash jeans or a long, flowing summer skirt—pick one in a substantial fabric. Avoid anything flimsy enough to be an undershirt.”
♥ As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art Sales (The New York Times): “Billions of dollars of art changes hands every year with little or no public scrutiny. Buyers typically have no idea where the work they are purchasing is coming from. Sellers are similarly in the dark about where a work is going. And none of the purchasing requires the filing of paperwork that would allow regulators to easily track art sales or profits, a distinct difference from the way the government can review the transfer of other substantial assets, like stocks or real estate … In January, Congress extended federal anti-money laundering regulations, designed to govern the banking industry, to antiquities dealers. The legislation required the Department of the Treasury to join with other agencies to study whether the stricter regulations should be imposed on the wider art market as well. The U.S. effort follows laws recently adopted in Europe, where dealers and auction houses must now determine the identity of their clients and check the source of their wealth.”
♥ The Gamer Chat App Influencing Menswear (The Business of Fashion): “Discord, with its offer of closely guarded groups (or servers) free from likes, invasive algorithms and advertising, is particularly appealing to the sneakerhead community, which often trades on exclusive access and knowledge. The platform has also become a near-prerequisite for users hoping to have a chance at buying hyped releases. Discord is embracing its emerging toehold in the menswear market. The company rebranded last year to move beyond its gaming image (it said roughly 78 percent of active users now turn to the platform primarily for non-gaming purposes). Its own sneaker server boasts over 12,000 members. It’s also piloting a range of new capabilities that could appeal to brands, including ticketed stage programming and ambassadorship groups … Discord’s particular influence on the menswear market is built on the growing importance of private communities of elite streetwear fans and traders, known as ‘cook groups.’ Many of its dedicated users have defected from other platforms as competition over limited releases and the rise of sneaker bots … continues to grow.”
♥ Jeff Bezos Has Reached His Final Form (The Atlantic): “… Bezos built Blue Origin for himself. Perhaps he always imagined he would be one of its first passengers. Plenty of men throughout history have tried out their inventions on themselves first; Henry Ford, for example, drove the first automobile he designed. This is just the first time in history that anyone has had the wealth, power, and technology to hire people to build a spaceship for semi-personal use. Many members of Bezos’s generation dreamed of becoming astronauts as children, but most of them applied to NASA.”
♥ Reddit Declares War on Christmas, Ends Secret Santa (Gizmodo): “Reddit is shutting down the beloved Secret Santa platform Reddit Gifts after the 2021 holiday season … Over the years, the related forum r/secretsanta has attracted over 200,000 members … Wall Street Bets now ranks as the third most active subreddit, followed by crypto tips forums CryptoMoonRocks and CryptoMoon … interest in Secret Santa has waned slightly in recent years, down to around 100,000 participants, compared with Wall Street Bets’s 10.5 million members.”
♥ National Parks Are Overcrowded and Closing Their Gates (The Wall Street Journal) “… the surge of tourism is now reaching new heights. Dead Horse Point State Park … saw twice as many visitors in March 2021 as it did in March 2019. Wyoming’s Buffalo Bill State Park saw a 37% increase in visitors last year compared with 2019 … Yellowstone saw a 50% increase in vehicle entries over Memorial Day weekend this year compared with the same weekend in 2019 … Some tourists say their visits are less enjoyable, as they spend their days in hourslong lines and, when they finally get to popular attractions … are surrounded by Disneyland-caliber crowds.”
♥ How Do They Say Economic Recovery? ‘I Quit.’ (The New York Times): “The rate was particularly high in the leisure and hospitality industry, where competition for workers has been especially fierce. But the number of those quitting registered across the board. Economists believe that one reason more workers are quitting is simply a backlog: By some estimates, more than five million fewer people quit last year than would otherwise be expected, as some workers, riding out the labor market’s convulsions, stuck with jobs they may have wanted to leave anyway … Now that the economy is regaining its footing, workers may suddenly be feeling more emboldened to heed their impulses … More than 740,000 workers quit jobs in leisure and hospitality in April … for a rate of 5.3 percent. A vast majority were in accommodation and food service.”
♥ China Isn’t Going to Take This Lying Down (Bloomberg): “‘Lying flat’ … which has gripped social media in recent weeks, describes the growing tendency of urban youths to opt out of the rat race and take unambitious, low-paying jobs or not work at all, eschewing conventional goals in favor of a minimalist, subsistence existence. It’s a social movement that is reminiscent of the West’s hippies in the 1960s or, more recently, the hikikomori hermits of Japan … Lying flat is a lifestyle choice rather than an overtly political act. Yet it amounts to a repudiation of how China’s economy and society have developed. Inequality has exploded since the country adopted pro-market reforms in the late 1970s, and wealth and income disparities have become increasingly rigid in the past decade. As economic growth slows, the competition for advancement gets more intense … Faced with what they consider a rigged game controlled by entrenched elites, the flat-liers have decided that their best option is to refuse to play. Instead of working hard and saving to buy property and a car, to get married and have children, their choice is to withdraw and settle for a life of renounced desires.”
♥ Forget Going Back to the Office—People Are Just Quitting Instead (The Wall Street Journal): “In April, the share of U.S. workers leaving jobs was 2.7% … a jump from 1.6% a year earlier to the highest level since at least 2000 … Several factors are driving the job turnover. Many people are spurning a return to business as usual, preferring the flexibility of remote work or reluctant to be in an office before the virus is vanquished. Others are burned out from extra pandemic workloads and stress, while some are looking for higher pay to make up for a spouse’s job loss or used the past year to reconsider their career path and shift gears.”
♥ Why American Women Everywhere Are Delaying Motherhood (The New York Times): “For decades, delaying parenthood was the domain of upper-middle-class Americans, especially in big, coastal cities. Highly educated women put off having a baby until their careers were on track, often until their early 30s. But over the past decade, as more women of all social classes have prioritized education and career, delaying childbearing has become a broad pattern among American women almost everywhere … Since 2007, the birthrate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28 percent, and the biggest recent declines have been among unmarried women. The only age groups in which birthrates rose over that period were women in their 30s and 40s — but even those began to decline over the past three years … The large urban counties that have gained the most jobs and population since the recession have seen birthrates fall twice as fast as smaller, rural counties that have not recovered as strongly … In economically stagnant places, fertility tends to be higher, and having a child is seen as a primary route to fulfillment.”
♥ Barely Hired at Morgan Stanley, Trading Savior Nears CEO’s Perch (Bloomberg): “Blunt and almost gleefully profane in years past, Pick has helped Morgan Stanley’s investment bank go toe to toe with its nemesis. In Goldman Sachs v. Morgan Stanley … Pick’s firm is no longer the underdog. The very markets in which the pair compete value Morgan Stanley about $37 billion more, or 28% higher, than Goldman … Pick’s rise is an unlikely arc for a man who was the last person hired into his analyst class three decades ago. He was immediately assigned to a cramped, rank-smelling room with a datafeed machine. After that came a circuitous climb through the bank’s Wall Street businesses, from the world of hot tech IPOs like Google’s to the rough-and-tumble trading floor. Then last month, Morgan Stanley elevated him to co-president, putting Pick one spot away from potentially becoming chief executive officer … Along the way, he gained notoriety for a unique style of leadership. After getting worked up about the size of another executive’s office, feeling it was too big for his position, Pick called in a construction crew over the weekend and had the walls moved to shrink the room.”
♥ As Lumber Prices Fall, the Threat of Inflation Loses Its Bite (The New York Times): “Lumber prices soared over the past year, frustrating would-be pandemic do-it-yourselfers, jacking up the costs of new homes and serving as a compelling talking point in the debate over whether government stimulus efforts risked the return of 1970s-style inflation … Lumber futures surged to unprecedented heights, peaking at more than $1,600 per thousand board feet in early May. But since then, the prices of those same plywood sheets and pressure-treated planks have tumbled, as mills restarted or ramped up production and some customers put off their purchases until prices came down … Lumber prices in the futures market … are down more than 45 percent from their peak, slipping below $1,000 for the first time in months. That’s still high — between 2009 and 2019, prices averaged less than $400 per thousand board feet — but the sell-off has been gaining momentum over the last few weeks. The price has fallen in 11 of the last 12 trading sessions, including a 0.5 percent drop to settle at $900.80 on Friday … Why have prices fallen so fast? It’s partly because they set off a surge of production at the country’s roughly 3,000 sawmills.”
♥ Skinny Jeans Make You Look Old? These Women Don’t Care (The Wall Street Journal): “For many millennial women, especially those who came of age paging through (print) magazines featuring the style’s early ambassadors Ms. Moss and Sienna Miller, skinnies are a comforting way of life. And they’re loath to give them up … Because of this type of loyal customer, Nordstrom has no plans to scrap the skinny … While the skinny used to be the top jean style among all customers, today it’s more popular for the ‘late-career’ shoppers.”
♥ Recently purchased: Alo Chill Cargo Pullover, Nike Air Max 270 Sneaker, Everlane The Retro Jersey Polo Dress, Naked Wardrobe Snatched & Sexy Sleeveless Minidress, Schutz Ariella Sandal, BTFBM Polka Dot Print Dress, H&M Wrapover Denim Skort, and Express Button-Up Fringe Sweater Jacket.
Have a great week, everyone!