Weekly Link Roundup

+ For a limited time, select tees, tanks, short, skorts, and skirts are $15 (originally up to $38.95) at Victoria’s Secret; prices as marked. Shipping is free on orders over $50.

+ ‘Deadstock’ Fabric Finds a Second Life (The New York Times): “… Nona Source, a showroom named for the Roman goddess of textiles … [offered] unused fabric — or ‘deadstock’ — from LVMH brands like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi to in-house design teams for capsule collections, special orders or marketing projects, as well as emerging independent designers, at a steeply discounted price. Nona Source’s deadstock is up to 70 percent off wholesale prices … In May, Nona Source opened a second showroom, at the Mills Fabrica, a tech-style co-working space and incubator in Kings Cross in London. And there is talk about expanding to Southeast Asia — most likely Hong Kong or Singapore — and the United States.”

+ A Secret to Lululemon’s Success? Men Who Are Obsessed With Its Pants (The Wall Street Journal): “In 2021, men made up 25% of Lululemon’s total revenue. While the brand does not break out revenue by category … the ABC and Commission pants for men comprise ‘a pretty large share of our total purchases,’ particularly among new shoppers … More than any marketing scheme or designer-led subbrand, word-of-mouth has helped the brand spread among men … Beyond comfort, Lululemon successfully identified that many men (some might say most) care more about looking merely presentable than being fashionable. Sold in earth-tone color schemes that bring to mind unobtrusive kitchen countertops, Lululemon’s pants aren’t supposed to be noticed, let alone remarked upon. They share more DNA with sparse Allbirds sneakers or a pared-down AirPod case than a pair of Gucci’s garish embroidered jeans, or even J.Crew’s wide-cut khakis.”

+ The Race to Fix Resale (The Business of Fashion): “Resale platforms say they’ll eventually be profitable, though the exact date tends to be in the distant future, if they give one at all. The path forward comes down to scale and efficiency: these companies need all those warehouses, authenticators and salespeople processing as many bags and dresses as quickly as possible to justify the cost. For years, the category’s boosters have held out hope that artificial intelligence and automation could shift the economics … Progress has been slower than hoped, and it’s telling that Tradesy, which built its authentication system around analysis of data it collected on sellers, was acquired by Vestiaire Collective earlier this year and will be shut down in 2023.”

+ Kohl’s Will Bring Sephora to All Stores in Hopes of Adding $2B in Sales by 2025 (Retail Dive): “Kohl’s with a Sephora perform better than those without … the 200 that opened last year have maintained a high single-digit percent lift compared to the rest of the chain. With 400 opening this year and 250 in 2023, Sephora is in 600 Kohl’s locations and will be in 850 some time next year. The retailer said it projects that Sephora at Kohl’s will achieve $2 billion in annual sales by 2025 … relying on Sephora to revitalize the wider business is folly. It is a part of the solution, not the solution itself – as J.C. Penney, which used the same approach, found out to its cost.”

+ What Is the Weird-Girl Aesthetic? (The Cut): “On the surface, weird-girl aesthetic looks like maximalism, with styles that were popular in Y2K. It favors pieces that don’t exactly go together but work anyway. Think a baby tee paired with a miniskirt — then add leg warmers, then a knit hat, then top it all off with some dad sneakers. They’re all thrifted in different colors and patterns. But if you dig deeper, the look is not simply maximalism or piling on clothes … maximalist style is loud while the weird-girl aesthetic is understated but quirky.”

+ Streaming Services Deal With More Subscribers Who ‘Watch, Cancel and Go’ (The Wall Street Journal): “It is gradually getting tougher for streaming-video companies to hold on to their subscribers, as consumers who are flooded with options weed out services they don’t need at any given time. Some 19% of subscribers to premium services—a group that includes Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV+, HBO Max and Disney+, among others—canceled three or more subscriptions in the two years up to June That is up from 6% in the two-year stretch ended in June 2020. The average rate of monthly customer defections among premium services in the U.S. was 5.46% in July, up from 4.46% a year ago and 4.05% in July 2020 … Customer defections are a key reason that some big streaming playersare finding it harder to expand their customer bases. Netflix lost nearly one million customers in its most recent quarter.”

+ Can the Visa-Mastercard Duopoly Be Broken? (The Economist): “America is home to the heftiest interchange fees of any major economy … That largely benefits two firms: Visa and Mastercard, which facilitate more than three-quarters of the country’s credit-card transactions. Doing so has made them two of the most profitable companies in the world, with net margins last year of 51% and 46% respectively … Much of Visa and Mastercard’s profits are ultimately driven by the fees that are charged when a shopper uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase. The eu has capped such fees for credit cards at 0.3% of the transaction value; intense competition in China means that WeChat and Alipay collect charges of just 0.1%. In Americacredit-card fees are unregulated and meatier, usually sitting at about 2% of the transaction and rising to 3.5% for some premium-reward cards. These fees are set by Mastercard and Visa, but collected by banks, which take a slice and use them to fund perks, such as insurance and air miles, to lure customers … Stripe, a large payments-infrastructure firm, says it is working to provide merchants with payment methods that will lower their costs. Current options include a box for customers to put in card details, but also Klarna, a ‘buy-now-pay-later’ provider It could soon include things like FedNow, a real-time bank-transfer system being built by the Fed, which is due to be launched next year. In time, it could even include central-bank digital currencies or cryptocurrencies.”

+ Currently shopping Shopbop’s Summer Shoe Sale. Shipping and returns are free on all orders. My picks:

+ They Lost Crypto in the Crash. They’re Trying to Get It Back. (The New York Times): “Celsius depositors are scrambling to salvage even a portion of their savings, congregating in online forums to debate legal strategy and offer emotional support. For weeks, they have flooded the Bankruptcy Court with hundreds of impassioned letters detailing their losses and proposing ideas to maximize recoveries … Whether the grassroots organizing and back-room dealmaking will lead to substantial payouts for people who lost money remains uncertain. The Celsius case is complex, and historically, investors who have lost cryptocurrencies in a corporate collapse have struggled to get them back.”

+ How Social Justice Became a New Religion (The Atlantic): “In the U.S., the nonreligious are younger and more liberal than the population as a whole … they are also the group most likely to be involved in high-profile social-justice blowups … They’ve substituted one religion for another … If you’re isolated, reading and sharing political memes and commentary is one way to find like-minded people; meanwhile, social media and dating apps encourage us to label ourselves so that we can be instantly categorized by algorithms and advertisers. Many common social-justice phrases have echoes of a catechism: announcing your pronouns or performing a land acknowledgment shows allegiance to a common belief, reassuring a group that everyone present shares the same values. But treating politics like a religion also makes it more emotionally volatile, more tribal and more prone to outbreaks of moralizing and piety.”

+ You Should’ve Asked (Emma)

+ It’s Getting Harder to Be a Woman in America (Bloomberg): “… the Senate declined to pass a law that would’ve granted 9 million working women breastfeeding protections at work … Mississippi’s maternal mortality rate was almost twice as high as the national average and that close to 40% of mothers who died did so more than six weeks after childbirth … Texas Attorney General … said that to prevent future massacres, the state should ‘arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly.’ In the US, 89% of elementary school teachers are women … Almost two-thirds of the recent hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islanders have been directed at women … Of the estimated 41 million Americans tasked with caring for an elderly relative, usually a parent, more than 60% are women … The two most common jobs held by women in the US are teacher and nurse, necessary roles in any functioning society. And yet a teacher with two young kids would have to fork over two-thirds of her paycheck for day care just to be able to work. Child-care workers, home health aides—again, two essential jobs held almost entirely by women—are so poorly paid that they often can’t afford child care at all … 1 million women who quit their jobs in the depths of the pandemic still haven’t returned to work. The most common reason given is that they either can’t find or can’t afford child care … Since 2020 about 16,000 child-care centers have closed. Nurses and teachers were so overworked during the pandemic that they’re quitting in droves. McKinsey & Co. estimates that the US will be short about 450,000 nurses in the next three years. Schools are so short-staffed that some districts have moved to a four-day-a-week schedule. Hospitals turn away patients. Children learn less. The absence of women has consequences for everyone … the US’s indifference toward women hurts its economy. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that if women participated in the U.S. labor force at the same rate as men, the economy could grow by $4.3 trillion in five years.”

+ The Work-From-Home Revolution Is Also a Trap for Women (Bloomberg): “Over the past two years, most of those clear boundaries and carefully designed arrangements have dissolved. The woman’s workplace has instituted a hybrid setup, in which all employees are required to be in the office two days a week. As the primary bearer of the mental load, she can start prepping dinner at 4 p.m. while still working remotely, so that when the kids come home, she isn’t trying to attend to their needs and scrambling to get food on the table … No matter how theoretically equitable the marriage is, you can see who would naturally pick up more of the domestic and caregiving responsibilities: the partner who is often in the home, with greater proximity to the kids, and whose career is already consciously or subconsciously deprioritized because, well, it pays less. When the day care shuts down because it’s short-staffed or one of the kids is sick, she can cover. In this way, extra flexibility becomes a blessing and a burden for women in the contemporary American workplace. It makes family life much easier. But it can also default into a far more regressive division of labor than either member of a couple intended … 61.5% of mothers of children under 12 reported taking on the majority or entirely of extra care work in 2020, compared with 22.4% of fathers … even when the father was unemployed and the mother was employed, the mother still did more of the unpaid care work. Sometimes the load of that extra care work—and the continued lack of access to outside care—meant women had to leave their jobs altogether. In the first months of the pandemic, mothers reduced their work hours four to five times more than fathers … 1.1 million women left the workforce over the course of the first year of the pandemic, making up 63% of all jobs lost … Around the globe, ‘women’s work losses were driven in large part by the outcomes of mothers, specifically, who often took on additional (unpaid) care of their children during school shutdowns’ … Deloitte’s 2022 Women at Work survey [found that] … 53% of the 5,000 women surveyed reported higher levels of stress than a year ago. A whopping 46% felt burned out, and 33% had taken time off to deal with their mental health. Among women actively looking for a new job, 40% of women cited burnout as their main reason … The problem … isn’t the flexibility itself. It was how that flexibility has facilitated their transformation into one-woman safety nets … Women have long been socialized to serve, to do more with and for less.”

+ A Very Dangerous Place to Be Pregnant Is Getting Even Scarier (Bloomberg): “Texas … is the national leader in maternity ward closures. In the past decade, more than 20 rural hospitals have stopped delivering babies. More than half the state’s rural counties don’t even have a gynecologist … As a result, more than 18% of Texans don’t have health insurance, the highest percentage of uninsured residents in the US … a fifth of all pregnant women in Texas don’t get prenatal care until they’re five months along. In other words, when a poor woman gets pregnant in Texas, it’s hard for her to find a doctor or even a hospital … The effects of this erosion of women’s health care are difficult to quantify. There’s no national survey of postpartum complications … The only real number to go on is one ominous figure: how many women die. For every 100,000 women who give birth in Germany, fewer than 4 die. In Canada, the figure is 8; in the UK, a bit fewer than 9. In the US, the number is 24. In 2020, 861 women died because of pregnancy or childbirth … for every death, an estimated 70 other women barely survive. This means that in 2020, an additional 60,270 women in the US suffered life-threatening medical complications … Ranked against other countries by the World Bank, the quality of maternal health care in America is no better than in Latvia, Moldova, and Oman. It wasn’t always this way. Forty years ago, America’s maternal mortality rate was 7.5, better than in many European countries at the time. But while childbirth has gotten safer there, today the US is the most dangerous wealthy country in which to give birth. And in the absence of data, nobody has a comprehensive explanation … the maternal mortality rate in cities is about 18 deaths per 100,000 births. In rural counties, that figure is 29, roughly on par with Syria. Babies are more likely to die, too. Insufficient prenatal care is linked to a greater likelihood of preterm birth, the leading cause of infant death in the US. Because most rural hospitals in America don’t have a working maternity ward, women travel longer distances to give birth, putting them at greater risk of delivering on the side of the highway or at home without a medical professional … infant mortality rates are 20% higher in rural areas than in large urban ones.”

+ If Your Co-Workers Are ‘Quiet Quitting,’ Here’s What That Means (The Wall Street Journal): “The phrase is generating millions of views on TikTok as some young professionals reject the idea of going above and beyond in their careers, labeling their lesser enthusiasm a form of ‘quitting.’ It isn’t about getting off the company payroll … the idea is to stay on it—but focus your time on the things you do outside of the office … workers’ descriptions of ‘quiet quitting’ align with a large group of survey respondents [classified] … as ‘not engaged’—those who will show up to work and do the minimum required but not much else. More than half of workers surveyed by Gallup who were born after 1989—54%—fall into this category.”

+ The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score (The New York Times): “In lower-paying jobs, the monitoring is already ubiquitousEight of the 10 largest private U.S. employers track the productivity metrics of individual workers, many in real time … Now digital productivity monitoring is also spreading among white-collar jobs and roles that require graduate degrees. Many employees, whether working remotely or in person, are subject to trackers, scores, ‘idle’ buttons, or just quiet, constantly accumulating records. Pauses can lead to penalties, from lost pay to lost jobs … For frustrated employees, or for companies navigating what to disclose to workers or how to deploy metrics in pay or firing decisions, the law provides little guidance. In many states, employers have ‘carte blanche in how to implement these technologies to surveil workers’ … Many of today’s workplace regulations, including the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, were written long before ‘bottom performer’ dashboard displays were conceivable. A New York law that took effect this spring requires employers to disclose the type of information they collect. But efforts to enact a similar rule in California stalled amid opposition from business groups.”

+ Is It Classist To Be Against Fast Fashion? (Put This On): “When consumers can buy a $12 shirt from Shein, they begin to believe that a $40 shirt is overpriced, lowering wages even for garment workers who aren’t producing fast fashion … it can be difficult to build a quality wardrobe in this day and age, but fast fashion is creating the very poverty and racial inequality that Shein supporters use to justify their purchases. No one needs to look trendy. You can build a quality wardrobe and look stylish without worsening things for some of the most marginalized people in the world.”

+ Donald Trump and the Sweepstakes Scammers (The New Yorker): “By the late eighties, America was in the grip of a sweepstakes mania. The industry had grown to an estimated value of a billion dollars, and every company … seemed to be running giveaways and promotions … After a string of scandals, public faith in promotional competitions waned … the F.T.C. and state agencies implemented tighter regulations and amended existing laws to make it more difficult to pull off scams … By 2011, Trump had driven his Atlantic City casinos into the ground, but he didn’t give up running sweepstakes. On the campaign trail, he’s awarded more than a hundred prizes in fund-raising contests. Supporters typically donate five or ten bucks for the chance to win a trip, all expenses paid, to meet him … But the trip to New Orleans came and went, and no winner was announced. A representative for Trump explained that there had been an ‘administrative error.’ “

+ Why Repair Services Are a Growing Business (The Business of Fashion): “Tech platforms aimed at helping brands and consumers rejuvenate old clothes and battered handbags have attracted millions of dollars in investment over the last year … companies face significant challenges to scale. Repair services involve tricky logistics, complicated infrastructure and require access to a skilled workforce that is at best fragmented and at worst nonexistent. Ultimately, no amount of digitisation and software can change that.”

+ Paying $400,000 for an Executive Assistant? Do-It-All Aides Are Pricier Than Ever (The Wall Street Journal): “In search of executive assistants equally adept at preparing for board meetings and managing housekeepers and chauffeurs, many are asking staffing services to recruit for a loftier title: chief of staff. It is a job that demands a rare combination of competence and humility. One agency told me about placing someone who holds a Ph.D. in a role that involves high-level administrative work—and fetching coffee. The going rate for such overqualified aides is about $200,000 a year in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles … those with records of making the busiest lives simpler can command as much as $300,000 or even $400,000 to meet their bosses’ every need.”

+ Are You Sure You’re Not Guilty of the ‘Millennial Pause’? (The Atlantic): “After hitting ‘Record,’ I wait a split second before I start speaking, just to make sure that TikTok is actually recording … Gen Zers make up a larger portion of TikTok’s base, and have grown up filming themselves enough to trust that they’re recording correctly. Which is why, as short-form video comes to Instagram (Reels), YouTube (Shorts), and Snapchat (Spotlight), the Millennial pause is becoming easier to spot … Now that Gen Z has all the attention, the internet quirks that Millennials have called their own for years can feel a bit stale, if not downright cringey. The first generation to grow up with social media in the mobile web era, Millennials are now becoming the first generation to subsequently age out of it, stuck parroting the hallmarks of a bygone digital age.”

+ Recently purchased: Schutz Mikki Pointed Toe Bootie, J. Crew Drapey Wrap Skirt, Banana Republic Radiant Halter Tank, Banana Republic Merino Cable Tank, Banana Republic Heritage Coastal Cardigan, Free People Spur Of The Moment Solid Hoodie, Reformation Rosi Sweetheart Neck Dress, Schutz Agatha Mid Sandal (more sizes here), and Gap TENCEL™ Lyocell High Rise Pull-On Pants.

Have a good week(end)!

Hi, I am Elle!

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