Weekly Link Roundup

Everlane’s Spring Sale is now live; 400+ styles are now up to 60% off. “No Rush” shipping is 4.95 per order. My picks:

A Pink Parade at the End of the World (The New York Times): “… a realization by LoveShackFancy’s owners that its customers behaved like fans. They would drive for hours and wait in line to shop at LoveShackFancy’s small, antiques-filled stores, dressing up for openings and events with the same verve as Comic Con cosplayers, and buy out its many collaborations … All of this culminated in growth in net sales of about 125 percent from 2020 to 2021 … but also a growth in bewilderment among people outside its customer base … More than most of its peers, LoveShackFancy is selling an atmosphere and attitude, an invitation to what Ms. Cohen [LoveShackFancy’s founder] has called ‘the ultimate girls’ club.’ Depending on the shopper’s age — customers generally range from tweens to 40-somethings — sometimes the vibe is romantic and innocent.”

Calvin Klein’s New Strategy: Don’t Market the Dream, Market What Sells (The Business of Fashion): “Improving the product execution … means iterating on Calvin Klein’s ‘hero products’ like underwear, sweatshirts and T-shirts with trendy colourways and materials. At Tommy Hilfiger, the other powerhouse brand in the PVH portfolio, that means the brand’s best-sellers make up 80 percent of its assortment, with seasonal fashion items accounting for 15 percent and 5 percent dedicated to limited-edition collaborations … It’s all about striking a balance between appealing to what customers already like about Calvin Klein and newness buoyed by fresh cultural moments that will keep the brand current.”

Shein: The Unacceptable Face of Throwaway Fast Fashion (The Guardian): “… the e-commerce giant was valued at $100bn … Shein has risen from relative obscurity to dominate this market, taking revenue from $2bn in 2018 to $15.7bn in 2021. Its model of manufacturing garments, plus our demand for them, means it churns out up to a staggering 10,000 new products a day. The constant, timed mark-downs, shown in hours and minutes, perpetuate the idea that you need to buy now and can’t wear anything twice … just 6% of Shein’s inventory remains in stock for more than 90 days … Shein overtook Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app in the US last year, underlining how its use of digital marketing has helped it overtake rivals so adeptly.”

M.B.A.s’ Latest Pitch to Investors: Skip the Startup, Invest in Me (The Wall Street Journal): “The latest breed of student-entrepreneur is skipping the startup part and pitching themselves as the investment … The M.B.A. uses the money to search for a privately held, under-the-radar business and run it as chief executive and part owner. These so-called search funds came on the business-school scene decades ago, but they have taken off in the pandemic years as investors—awash in capital—look for promising places to put it … Investors said they know searchers are often inexperienced, so the businesses they target must be in growing markets and have strong recurring revenues.”

“If You’re Getting a W-2, You’re a Sucker” (ProPublica): “… for most people, filing taxes is little more than data entry The financial reality of the ultrawealthy is not so easily defined. For one, wages make up only a small part of their earnings. And they have broad latitude in how they account for their businesses and investments. Their incomes aren’t defined by a tax form. Instead, they represent the triumph of careful planning by skilled professionals who strive to deliver the most-advantageous-yet-still-plausible answers to their clients. For them, a tax return is an opening bid to the IRS. It’s a kind of theory.”

Bizarro World (Boston.com): “What does it mean to be the best in the world at something? This is what runs through my mind as we lay in bed Sunday morning. We are both struggling to understand what Lori’s mastery of a game that Day calls ‘the embodiment of comprehensive thinking’ means in our lives.”

Am I Done Suffering for Fashion? (The New York Times): “The kinder, gentler side of women’s fashion has been visible across the spectrum, from Zoom screen up to runway … At its heart, relaxed fashion is democratic, accommodating changes of mind, body and culture. It can be gender-neutral or nonbinary; and it’s body inclusive, flattering diverse shapes, weights and sizes. It’s also potentially a way to do more with less … In this, relaxed fashion feels very much in keeping with some of today’s most urgent political and social movements.”

Naming Objects Is the Opposite of Thoughtless Consumption (The Atlantic): “Our lives are full of stuff, and our stuff makes up a core part of our personal history. We can form complex, intimate relationships with the things we own—and sometimes this connection manifests in the form of a name. Many of us christen the items … that fill meaningful roles in our lives, enabling freedom, creativity, health, or pleasure … naming something can serve to push against a culture of materialism. It’s a deliberate move—even if subconscious—to linger on a possession and to imagine using it in the future … When we name an inanimate object, we are intentionally building a relationship, elevating it to a character in our lives. Not only do we feel closer to things that we name, but perhaps we name our things in order to feel closer to them.”

Rent the Runway’s Long Road Ahead to Profitability (The Business of Fashion): “Rent the Runway reported $203.3 million in sales for 2021, up 29 percent from the previous year, although still below its peak of $257 million in 2019. Active subscribers — customers who are paying up to $149 a month to rent clothes — more than doubled to 115,240, but also remained below 2019 levels. The company fell deeper into the red, reporting a net loss of $211.8 million in 2021, compared to $157 million in 2019 … investors are losing faith. Rent the Runway debuted on the Nasdaq last October with a $1.7 billion market capitalisation. Since then, its value has dropped by two-thirds, to about $360 million.”

Can Elon Musk Buy Twitter? (The Wall Street Journal): “Musk … has given no indication of how he might pay for the deal. Would-be acquirers … typically show up with the money in hand, or at least a guarantee from a bank that it will be there. Most companies won’t entertain sale talks without it … Mr. Musk is worth an estimated $250 billion or more, but is cash poor, with nearly all his wealth tied up in shares of Tesla and SpaceX … despite Mr. Musk saying of his offer that Twitter’s “shareholders will love it,” they don’t seem to, by and large. The stock was down nearly 2% to close at $45.08 Thursday—almost unheard-of after a takeover offer. That robs Mr. Musk of the investor army he may need to pressure Twitter’s board.”

The Wolf of Crypto (The New York Times): “Whatever his crypto bona fides, Mr. Belfort is unquestionably qualified to discuss the subject of financial fraud, a major problem in the digital-asset industry. In the 1990s … he and his business partners consumed enormous quantities of cocaine and quaaludes and regularly employed prostitutes. Mr. Belfort eventually served 22 months in prison … For a gathering of crypto evangelists, it was striking how much time everyone spent reliving their biggest losses … the group adjourned for dinner … As they dined on caviar and rigatoni, some of the guests shared stories of their own debauchery; Mr. Belfort, it turned out, was not the only wolf in the room. Two guests discussed the mechanics of pursuing younger women without risking entanglement in a ‘sugar baby’ situation. Someone speculated about how an enterprising strip club owner might incorporate NFTs into the business. Soon conversation turned to a club in Japan where women are said to cavort with octopuses. Mr. Belfort wanted to know more: Were the women in Japan beautiful? Later, he showed the group an iPhone video he took at an S-and-M-themed bar, where the waitresses flog the customers.”

If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned, What’s Next? (The New Yorker): “In the forthcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court is widely expected to overturn or severely undermine its abortion-rights cases, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In fact, following the comments of the six conservative Justices at the oral arguments in December, the strength of this expectation has spurred state legislative efforts to proceed as if Roe were already gone. A handful of states have passed laws, like the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs, that ban abortion after fifteen weeks of pregnancy, in violation of precedents establishing that abortion cannot be banned before ‘viability,’ at around twenty-four weeks … Overturning Roe would almost certainly fuel the broader fight to get fundamental moral issues out of the realm of federal constitutional rights and under the control of the states.”

Activewear’s Biggest Disruptors (The Business of Fashion): “Buoyed by sustained consumer demand for comfortable clothing, the global sportswear market was worth €295 billion ($384 billion) in 2021 … and is expected to grow to €395 billion by 2025, at a rate of 8 to 10 percent a year. But breaking in isn’t so easy … In order to stand out, many of these brands have created specialised, fashion-forward products and built communities around underserved interests. They’re also capitalising on a lifestyle trend that emerged 20 years ago around the idea that everybody can be active — not just professional athletes.”

Birkin Bros: Why Men Covet Wildly Extravagant Hermès Handbags (The Wall Street Journal): “Recently, the clique of men who tote Hermès’s coveted bags seems to be expanding. Driven by a combination of social-media flexing, an uptick in man-bag adoption and an investment-obsessed fashion resale market, a fascination with Birkins and HACs is trickling down from celebrities to less famous collectors … There is an ‘I have it and you don’t’ appeal to Birkins that, among men, speaks the same, braggadocious language as buying limited NFTs or a pair of vintage Jordans—two markets that have, not coincidentally, also exploded recently.”

Sexy Lingerie for Men Is Here (The New York Times): “Men’s lingerie is taking off among a self-possessed segment of male consumers looking for sexy undergarments that are more gender expansive than a jockstrap … Many of the customers … were not the girlfriends, partners or spouses, but the male buyers themselves … Lingerie sales have been strong during the pandemic, and many lingerie makers see an untapped market for men that tracks another apparel trend: the rise of gender-expansive clothing.”

The Final Pandemic Betrayal (The Atlantic): “The number of people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States has always been undercounted because such counts rely on often-inaccurate death certificates. But the total … will soon surpass 1 million. That number—the sum of a million individual tragedies—is almost too large to grasp … Each American who has died of COVID has left an average of nine close relatives bereaved, creating a community of grievers larger than the population of all but 11 states. Under normal circumstances, 10 percent of bereaved people would be expected to develop prolonged grief, which is unusually intense, incapacitating, and persistent … Many grievers are starved for sympathy and patience because our popular understanding of grief is wrong … Grief, as it actually unfolds, is erratic, and in many cases slow … many people ‘created a time capsule’ … locking their grief away without ever learning how to live with it. When society reopens, the capsule does too, and the grievers reemerge, still raging and sorrowful while everyone else has moved on.”

♥ Recently purchased: Rebecca Taylor Embroidered Floral Cotton & Silk Blouse, A&F Traveler Mini Dress, FP Movement Solid Honey Dove Hoodie, 4SI3NNA Beritt Gingham Bow Back Top, J. Crew Sardinia ankle-wrap heeled sandals, and Free People Get Together Long Sleeve Top.

Have a good week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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