Weekly Link Roundup

Does Fur Have a Future? (The Business of Fashion): “… the fur industry … was worth $22 billion in 2019, down 45 percent from $40 billion in 2015 … Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles and Neiman Marcus all announced plans to begin phasing out fur production or sales of fur products. Government action has aided the dirge, too: Israel announced a ban on the material with exceptions for religious observances last month; California became the first state to ban fur in 2019. The United Kingdom is also exploring a similar ban … fur’s decline is also propelled by shifting consumer attitudes … young consumers … demonstrated a growing consumer sentiment away from fur.”

Are Masks a New Signifier of Social Class? (The New York Times): “Those who are still wearing masks tend to be members of the service class — store clerks, waiters, janitors, manicurists, security guards, receptionists, hair stylists and drivers — while those without face coverings are often the well-to-do customers being wined and dined … The resulting class divide may not always be intentional, but it still can be jarring to see how masks have emerged as another symbol of inequality from the pandemic.”

How Billionaire Rebekah Neumann Put the Woo-Woo in WeWork (Vanity Fair): “… Rebekah … has now found herself in the company of great American grifters. She’s the latest example of a late-stage capitalist archetype, a member of the cheugystocracy: banal rich white women leveraging their proximity to power to build their own personal brands.”

The Devil Wears Prada and the Myth of the One and Only “Big Break” (Harper’s Bazaar): “… the myth of the big break … manipulates women into accepting that success is delivered in a singular fashion. If you screw up once, that’s it. You had your one opportunity, and now you will never have another ever again. The reality is that big breaks aren’t a finite resource. They may be infrequent, but they can happen more often than you think—especially once you free yourself from the false belief that they can’t.”

What Does Mitch McConnell Do Now? (The Atlantic): “For McConnell, politics is sport … In most democracies, a stubborn minority party cannot stop the majority from debating the nation’s worst problems, much less solving them. McConnell is one reason the United States remains an exception. He’s succeeded to a point where Democrats, in desperation, are casting about for work-arounds that would more easily translate their popular majorities into actual policy … McConnell is a proud partisan. He’ll nod to the possibility of working with Democrats, though he’s clearly not interested in compromise for its own sake … But maybe McConnell isn’t so very hard to understand. Why did he condemn the attempt to overturn the election and decry the assault on the Capitol, only to return to business as usual? The answer, I suppose, lies in his affection for political combat … Some senators come to Washington prepared to lose their seats in the defense of their principles. McConnell came to win, whatever the cost, for as long as he possibly can.”

How Barely-There Botox Became the Norm (The New York Times): “Social media has been both a blessing and a curse in our relationship to Botox. While the selfie-heavy platforms have made it easier than ever for people to compare and despair over their looks, they’ve also helped destigmatize and increase education about the once-taboo subject … ‘Baby Botox’ involves using 20 to 35 units spread out across multiple muscles in the face, most commonly in the forehead (two to 12 units), glabella and brow area (20 to 22 units) and the corners of the eyes (three to four units per eye). The result when done right is a refreshed look that doesn’t render one’s face immobile … While less risky than filler injections, Botox is not always the Benjamin Button miracle cure it’s made out to be. Proceeding with caution, particularly when starting young, is key.”

A Banking App Has Been Suddenly Closing Accounts, Sometimes Not Returning Customers’ Money (ProPublica): “Chime, which provides app-based banking services to an estimated 12 million customers, has according to experts been generating a high rate of complaints, with 920 filed at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since April 15, 2020 … Wells Fargo, a bank with six times as many customers and a lengthy recent history of misbehavior in its consumer bank, has 317 CFPB complaints tagged for closed accounts over the same time period. Marcus, the new online bank created by Goldman Sachs, with 4 million customers, has generated seven such complaints. Customers have also filed 4,439 complaints against Chime at the Better Business Bureau, compared to 3,281 for Wells Fargo … For all of Chime’s Silicon Valley tech patina, one thing it’s not is an actual bank. Like others in its category, Chime is a digital interface that hands over the actual banking to, in this instance, two regional institutions … customers interact with the Chime app, but Bancorp and Stride, both of which are FDIC-insured, hold their money. Since Chime is not a bank, that leaves it in a regulatory no man’s land … The rules and jurisdiction are murky at best.”

Have Sneakers Gotten Just Too Weird? (The Wall Street Journal): “… men ‘find out about’ sneakers through their Instagram feed … This has fueled an arms-race atmosphere, with brands creating increasingly outrageous shoes that leap from a tiny phone screen … The most sought-after shoes of the day pretty much refuse to be ignored … some of the bestselling sneakers at Nordstrom are those with giant soles … In April, Lyst … released its latest Hottest Products list, which included the Adidas Yeezy 450, which boasts a sole that looks like mutant cake frosting, and Rick Owens’s Geobasket, a bulging bubblegum-pink basketball sneaker.”

Elon Musk’s Tunnels Never Go Anywhere (Slate): “Much has been promised and little has been built. The Baltimore-Washington ‘loop,’ promising rapid trips in Tesla’s own cars running on tracks through a tunnel, got the furthest: The Boring Company bought property in D.C. and the state of Maryland drafted an environment impact statement. Then the Boring Company threw in the towel, removing the project from its website and showing no interest to the federal agency reviewing the plan. Musk said he would construct a privately funded express service to get travelers from Chicago O’Hare Airport to the Loop in 12 minutes, on skates traveling at speeds up to 150 miles per hour. That idea vanished when Mayor Rahm Emanuel left office. In Los Angeles, Musk has promised not one, not two, but three tunnel ideas for public use, with no signs of delivery on the horizon.”

Uniqlo Experiments With In-House Manufacturing (The Business of Fashion): “… Fast Retailing plans on producing more limited edition items at the new facility for its Tokyo flagship to gauge demand, cut down on unsold inventory and superfluous production lines. In providing the retailer with a centralised base for development teams and Innovation Factory to meet and check prototypes, the Shinonome base will also shorten the retailer’s development cycle.”

The Fall of the Billionaire Gucci Master (Bloomberg): “What does it mean to deserve such fortune as Hushpuppi’s? What type of work is commensurate with the riches of private jets and $5,000 handbags? The Billionaire Gucci Master had his answers to these questions, but so, too, did the FBI—answers that would form the basis of United States of America v. Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, the criminal case filed against him in a California federal court … Successful BEC scams, such as the ones Alaumary and Abbas stand accused of, always come off a bit like a magic trick. Phil in accounting … receives an invoice, logs in to a payment system, and sends off what seems like a routine payment. Then—poof!—the money is gone, having seemingly evaporated en route to its intended destination.”

Zola’s Story (Twitter screenshots on Imgur)

Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why (The Wall Street Journal): “… the economy added 706,000 jobs in June, a step up from May’s 559,000 and what would in normal times be a big number. These aren’t normal times, though. The U.S. is still 7.6 million jobs short of what it had before the Covid-19 pandemic struck … The problem isn’t a dearth of jobs. As of the end of April there were 9.3 million job openings by the Labor Department’s count, and businesses all over are complaining about how hard it is to get workers. Some of the more popular explanations are that enhanced and extended jobless benefits have reduced recipients’ incentives to look for work and that ongoing difficulties obtaining child care have dissuaded many women in particular from returning to work … The pandemic was traumatic for some people, and they might need time to process things before going on the job hunt, while for others it was simply exhausting and if they are able they might want to enjoy the summer before looking for work. Moreover, just knowing that there are a lot of job openings out there could dissuade some people from searching too hard—the easy pickings seem likely to continue. There also could be geographical mismatches between the places where businesses are hiring and places where the unemployed used to work.”

How Heat Waves Destroy the Human Body (Slate): “First, your brain sends a series of messages to your sweat glands telling them to ramp up sweat production. Then your heart starts beating faster to pump blood to the skin while blood flow is also directed away from your liver, kidneys, and gut … your body might get so hot and divert so much oxygen-rich blood to the skin that it suffocates those vital internal organs, which become hypoxic … If your … internal temperature … climb … to 104 degrees and 105 degrees … At that temperature, the tissues in the brain become affected. You may feel it start as a dull headache. Before long, you might not know where you are or what time it is. You might collapse. You may lose consciousness. Your brain might hemorrhage or begin to swell. While you struggle to stay awake and avoid dizzying confusion, the excessive internal heat is taking a toll on your gut. The gastrointestinal barrier that keeps bacteria out of your bloodstream … starts opening the microbial floodgates, unleashing endotoxins into the blood. Your body will likely trigger an inflammatory response. Left untreated, what follows is a cascade of organ failure that leads to all but certain death.”

‘Financially Hobbled for Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off (The Wall Street Journal): “… elite universities in recent years have awarded thousands of master’s degrees that don’t provide graduates enough early career earnings to begin paying down their federal student loans … Undergraduate students for years have faced ballooning loan balances. But now it is graduate students who are accruing the most onerous debt loads. Unlike undergraduate loans, the federal Grad Plus loan program has no fixed limit on how much grad students can borrow—money that can be used for tuition, fees and living expenses.”

How the French Manicure Made Its Comeback (The New York Times): “French nails are back ‘with extra essence … In 2021, we added cherries, smiley faces and other art on the French tip.’ Fashion’s obsession with the early 2000s may be another reason the French manicure is making a comeback. Fashion is cyclical, after all, and we’re living in an age of Prada mini-bags, silk scarves worn as tops and baby tees sold at a premium on Depop.”

♥ Recently purchased: Bardot Lucinta Floral Ditsy Sundress, J. Crew Baird McNutt Irish Linen Shirtdress, Ulla Johnson Divina Espadrilles, CNJFJ Tie-Shoulder Sundress, Rebecca Taylor Cotton Blend Shorts, Uniqlo x Mame Kurogouchi Mesh Wireless Bra, Self Portrait Gingham Off-Shoulder Dress, and André Assous Nolita Raffia Slide Sandal.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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