Weekly Link Roundup

+ Why Luxury’s Counterfeit Problem Is Getting Worse (The Business of Fashion): “In a June survey conducted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office, more than 50 percent of consumers between the ages of 15 and 24 said they had purchased at least one counterfeit product online in the last 12 months. The total value of counterfeit and pirated goods will hit $3 trillion this year, triple the amount in 2013 … One reason for the explosion in counterfeiting is easy access to these goods online. Websites like DHgate and AliExpress … offer Western consumers direct access to counterfeit manufacturers … While users typically can’t search by brand, the right keywords pull up dupes of thousands of products that will arrive on their doorsteps a couple of weeks later … In BoF’s latest Insights report about Gen Z consumer habits, 54 percent of survey respondents said they think it’s morally acceptable for other people to buy and use fake luxury goods; 37 percent said they would personally wear a fake luxury item, compared to 42 percent who said they would not … As more luxury brands move manufacturing from Europe to Asia, it’s helped fuel the belief among some consumers that the ‘dupes’ they’re buying are in fact made by the same factories that create products for top brands.”

+ Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès Bags Hit Amazon Through Secondhand Distributor (WWD): “… the e-commerce giant … [unveiled] its latest Amazon Luxury Store: A partnership with reseller What Goes Around Comes Around that places pre-owned and vintage bags from … Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Prada, Gucci and Rolex — on Amazon’s site. The new shop sees some 500 items available for purchase on Amazon. Over the next two months that number will increase to an inventory exceeding 2,000 bags … It gives What Goes Around Comes Around a much-expanded client base. But it also gives Amazon the goods it has been looking to carry for years, as well as a partner that is responsible for authenticating pre-owned luxury products … Amazon … has agreed for WGACA to be the sole vendor of luxury pre-owned goods on their site … What Goes Around Comes Around is responsible for holding all of Amazon’s inventory and drop ships as orders come in … As inventory expands, the company will introduce more specialty items, as well as high-value ready-to-wear … In recent years Amazon’s hunger to enter the luxury space has been among the company’s worst-kept secrets. But none of those players obliged and Amazon has since appeared to refocus on smaller, U.S.-based luxury labels, like Christopher John Rogers, Theophilio, Sergio Hudson and Rodarte, along with long-established ones like Oscar de la Renta.”

+ AI Is Designing Clothes Now (The Business of Fashion): “Designers may understandably feel a twinge of concern that their jobs could be automated away, a fear graphic designers have expressed because of DALL-E. If AI were to become widespread in fashion design — an outcome that isn’t certain — design jobs might change but that doesn’t guarantee they would disappear. Because the AI models are trained on existing imagery, another risk of AI image generators is that they could be used, accidentally or deliberately, to mimic a designer’s work. Artists have complained of AI tools copying their distinctive styles.”

+ Can Kanye West Find Refuge, or Money, in Music? (The New York Times): “By pairing smash hits and unscripted spectacle, [Kanye] … often got away with messy moments thanks to the clarity of his creative vision … Now, as corporate partners … distance themselves from him following his flaunting of a slogan associated with white supremacists and repeatedly making antisemitic statements on social media and in interviews, many are wondering whether the music catalog that was once his bedrock can withstand the backlash, or provide a path back … While Ye once dominated the pop world … he has not had a major hit in years … Projects have been plagued by repeated blown deadlines, incomplete recordings and aborted release strategies. His attention in the past few years has been far more focused on fashion. He has not toured since 2016 … Where Ye’s music career goes from here is unclear. Although momentarily shunned by the major talent managers of the entertainment industry, he is also essentially a free agent … Platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud, along with the ease of digital distribution to Spotify and other major streaming services, mean that Ye may not even need a corporate partner, given the size of his personal megaphone.”

+ Gap’s Real Yeezy Problem (Retail Dive): “The hip hop artist’s track record of inflammatory statements in public and in his music was established before Gap ever inked a contract with him. He said that Black people chose slavery, for example, two years before Yeezy Gap was unveiled. Gap’s decision to pair with Ye nevertheless, and its slow-motion response to his most recent provocations, reflect the desperation of a brand that has lost its way … ‘What is Gap? Who is it for? Over the last several years, they’ve been really struggling to find their way. I honestly cannot remember a time when I knew what Gap stood for … If you want to align your brand with somebody who is designed to bring relevance to that brand, be thoughtful about who you choose. Kanye West is a professional provocateur, and whenever you hang your brand on a human billboard, you get saddled with that person’s entire brand essence whether you like it or not.’ “

+ Ye’s Adidas Breakup Scrambles the Sneaker Resale Market (The Wall Street Journal): “According to publicly available data on StockX … prices of certain Adidas Yeezy sneakers have risen by more than 20 percent … Adidas will continue to sell Yeezy products under the Adidas brand from 2023 onward … Some resellers have wondered if the uptick in prices over the past few days could swing the other way: There are clearly people that want to get rid of their Yeezys. Every transaction, after all, requires a seller shedding their pairs. Ye’s anti-Semitic comments may well have made the designer so controversial that many people don’t want to be associated with him, or his sneakers. One resale platform, the RealReal, said on Tuesday it was no longer accepting items associated with Ye or the Yeezy brand.”

+ What’s Going on With the Magical Mystery Shampoo? (The New York Times): “Olaplex has grown from three products made by hand in a surfboard-littered garage in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2014 into a salon essential and a much-posted-about (and expensive) staple of millions of women’s at-home hair-care routines … the company — its hero ingredient is said to repair hair and prevent damage from bleaching and dyeing — spawned many imitators and became shorthand … In September 2021, Olaplex went public and was valued at more than $14 billion. But for all the customers who think the products are capable of necromancing their hair, there is also dissent: unhappy customers, skeptical chemists, disillusioned colorists. Sephora.com has dozens of one-star reviews for Olaplex, some blaming the oils and creams for damage, many just saying the products don’t live up to the hype … The company’s top-selling product, its No. 3 Hair Perfector, says on the label that it is ‘NOT a conditioner’ … it’s designed to be used before shampoo and rinsed out. Yet … many of its ingredients are … standard conditioning agents.”

+ What Happened to Maya (The Cut): “At All Children’s, Smith wore an ID badge bearing the hospital’s logo … Families often assumed that she was a doctor on staff In reality, she didn’t work for All Children’s, and her primary employer was not the state. Florida privatized its child-welfare system in 2004, and the work in Pinellas County is outsourced to a company called Suncoast Center Inc. Smith was one of its 117 employees. Suncoast and similar entities across the state are funded by more than $3 billion of public money … In Pinellas County, children are almost two and a half times more likely to be removed from their families than the state averageFlorida law mandates that all citizens are ‘mandatory reporters’ … Trained to look for abuse and neglect, they found it. From 2009 to 2018, there have been 55 percent more child-abuse reports filed by medical professionals … [Smith’s] refusal to second-guess herself seemed to invite that it is psychologically necessary, given the gruesome nature of what she’s seen To imagine misreading a case in either direction, as a false negative or a false positive, could just be too painful. Smith functioned in a world where children’s suffering is common and conditions as outré as Munchausen are real.”

+ Sephora’s Holiday Savings Event started today for Rouge Beauty Insiders: Take 20% off storewide with code SAVINGS. The sale opens to VIB members on 11/1 (15% off with code SAVINGS), and then to Insiders on 11/3 (10% off with code SAVINGS). Standard shipping is free on all orders for Beauty Insiders (membership is free).

+ How Democracies Live (Foreign Affairs): “U.S. democracy is extremely fragile … one of the United States’ biggest challenges is how to transition successfully from past and current demographic patterns, in which most Americans have identified and continue to identify as white, to a stable multicultural democracy in which no single ethnic or ethnoreligious subgroup is in the majority—and in which no group dominates any others … one cannot straightforwardly infer clear political implications from demographic patterns. To the contrary, ethnic and political affiliations are inevitably the result of the work of political entrepreneurs … If current demographic projections hold, by 2045, white people will make up less than 50 percent of the U.S. population. It is a trend that many political observers … worry could strengthen ethnonationalist politicians … humans have a tendency to form groups and turn against outsiders, a dynamic that can spur anarchy, domination, and fragmentation … It is easy … to think that society ‘will forever be characterized by a clash between the historically dominant and historically oppressed.’ … If it wants to stay democratic, the United States must transition to full power sharing across all segments of society, not just incorporate foreign-born residents and their children. The country needs to muster the institutional and cultural resources needed to achieve this broad shift.”

+ ‘You Don’t Look Anorexic’ (The New York Times): “… atypical anorexia nervosa, an increasingly common yet little known eating disorder that shares all the same symptoms as anorexia nervosa, except for extreme thinness … To make it easier for people with atypical anorexia to be screened, treated and insured, there’s a growing movement in the field to collapse the categories of anorexia and atypical anorexia into one — to no longer see them as separate illnesses … When a human body is starved for long enough The metabolism slows, which is why some people can eat very little and hardly lose any weight. Digestion simmers down, sometimes causing gastrointestinal trouble, and body temperature plummets while blood flow decreases. Many people who chronically undereat shiver with cold, their hands and feet feeling especially icy. If malnutrition worsens, their hair becomes fragile and falls out and muscle mass dwindles, including within the heart.”

+ Shein Jumps Into Resale (Retail Dive): “Unlike brands like Athleta and others that have partnered with ThredUp to manage the logistics of collecting and shipping used items, the Chinese fast-fashion retailer is leaving it to its customers to take care of most of the related tasks, as they would on the marketplaces run by eBay, Poshmark or Facebook. Shein in some cases will set a maximum price that sellers can ask for an item, and sellers pay Shein 5% of their proceeds.”

+ Cacio e Pepe Goes Beyond Pasta to Become the New Pumpkin Spice (Bloomberg): “We have reached peak cacio e pepe. Once a reliably delicious pasta, flavored simply with pecorino and crushed black peppercorns—a titan of Italy’s cucina povera, or kitchen of the poor—the dish has become a beaten-down flavor profile that shows up in places it doesn’t belong. Cacio e pepe has become so ubiquitous that it’s now a doughnut flavor … Recipes for cacio e pepe chowder … are just a click away. Cacio e pepe as a seasoning for chicken, steak, and tofu is proliferating. Trader Joe’s recently introduced cacio e pepe cheese puffs … There’s cacio e pepe panzanella … egg-in-a-hole cacio e pepe, and cacio e pepe “pasta fries”… For dessert fans, Food52 has recipes for cacio e pepe shortbread cookies as well as gelato infused with the pasta’s signature flavors.”

+ What We’ve Lost Playing the Lottery (The New Yorker): on the one hand, the lottery is vastly less profitable than its proponents make it out to be, a deception that has come at the expense of public coffers and public services. On the other hand, it is so popular that it is both extremely lucrative for the private companies that make and sell tickets and financially crippling for its most dedicated players. One in two American adults buys a lottery ticket at least once a year, one in four buys one at least once a month, and the most avid players buy them at rates that might shock you … some customers snap up entire rolls—at a minimum, three hundred dollars’ worth of tickets—and others show up in the morning, play until they win something, then come back in the evening and do it again. All of this, repeated every day … renders the lottery a ninety-one-billion-dollar business. ‘Americans spend more on lottery tickets every year than on cigarettes, coffee, or smartphones … and they spend more on lottery tickets annually than on video streaming services, concert tickets, books, and movie tickets combined.’ “

+ The Try Guys and the Prison of Online Fame (The New York Times): “This is what success looks like in the creator economy: A group of friends becomes a cast of characters, strip-mines lives and relationships for content and, in the process, turns into a corporation, with payroll to process and liabilities to consider … Their various obligations to fans, employees and one another had been neatly aligned, but the misbehavior of one Guy threw it all into disarray … the group’s audience was between 70 and 80 percent female and very young, with the 13-to-18 and 18-to-25 demographics in the lead … Over the years, that audience has developed an oddly codependent relationship with YouTube. According to Google’s research, the platform is especially popular for young people seeking to de-stress; some 69 percent of Gen Z say they often return to ‘comfort’ channels that they find soothing. The Try Guys, like everyone making a living online, were inevitably shaped by their audience’s desires.”

+ My Eight Deranged Days on the Gone Girl Cruise (Slate): “What do you mean, Gone Girl cruise? How can a cruise be themed around a book about a woman faking her own abduction to take revenge on her partner? Why is it taking place on the Danube?… Why is Flynn doing this? … I finally got in front of Flynn to chain-smoke … on the Sky Deck and ask her how this all came about. ‘They contacted me out of the blue, and I thought, ‘Why in the world would I not do that? Are you kidding me?’ ‘ … All the people she brought with her are people who were in her wedding … It was obvious, really: If you wrote a bestselling book, and 10 years later someone said, ‘Do you want to go on a cruise about it and bring a bunch of your friends?,’ you would indeed go.”

+ Envy, the Happiness Killer (The Atlantic): “Social comparison is how we gauge our relative place in society, and thus how we know what to strive for in order to stay competitive for resources and viable in mating markets. When we see that we fall behind others, the pain we feel often spurs us to build ourselves up—or to tear others down. All of this could have been life-and-death in troglodyte times, but it feels largely anachronistic today. You are unlikely to die alone because your social-media posts are less popular than others’. But the pain can still be just as acute … Envy—especially when malicious—is terrible for you. To begin with, the pain is real: Neuroscientists find that envying other people stimulates the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, which is associated with both physical and mental pain. It can also wreck your future. Scholars writing in 2018 in the journal Social Science & Medicine studied 18,000 randomly selected individuals and found that their experience of envy was a powerful predictor of worse mental health and lower well-being in the future. Ordinarily, people become psychologically healthier as they age; envy can stunt this trend. Even though other studies have shown that benign envy might spur your ambition, this one did not find that envy predicted later economic success at all.”

+ Still the Biggest Skeleton in the Game? (The New York Times): “Each box had been sold for $299, some to shoppers who had spent years trying to get their hands on the decorative 12-foot-tall skeleton inside, which has been nicknamed Skelly. Since its introduction in 2020, the skeleton has for many come to represent the face — or at least the cheekbones, eye sockets and mandible — of Halloween … The product went on sale leading into the first holiday season of the coronavirus pandemic, when many stuck at home scaled up their decorations to boost their moods. People were also spending more time online, where Skelly became a hit as photos and videos of the skeleton in absurd scenarios spread … just how many 12-foot skeletons have been sold is a number that the Home Depot appears prepared to take to the grave.”

+ Recently purchased: J. Crew Fair Isle Snowflake Crewneck, Banana Republic Cavo Half-Zip Sweater, Alex Mill Margot Stripe Trim Cotton & Cashmere Cardigan, adidas Originals NMD R1 Sneaker, Double Breasted Coatigan, Gap Mockneck Cable-Knit Sweater, The North Face Hydrenalite Hooded Down Jacket, Avec Les Filles Puffer Coat, Acne Studios Canada Fringed Wool Scarf, and Cole Haan Valley Bootie.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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