Weekly Link Roundup

Prada Vela Backpac

+ Backpacks Replace Handbags in New Work Era. Here Are Eight to Buy (Bloomberg): “… many higher-end luxury brands have taken advantage of our increasingly fluid work routines to focus on functional style … backpacks need to go from day to night. Professional two-strap bags are taking lessons from more chic counterparts and adding details such as leather accents and statement hardware. Vice versa, the most avant-garde styles rarely skip the laptop compartment. Clever designs that allow a pack to convert to a handheld or shoulder tote are making the need to carry both a purse and a “practical” bag obsolete. In total, ‘the global women’s backpacks market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 5.5% from 2022 to 2030’ … Here are some of the best: Monos Metro … Prada Small Re-Nylon … Cuyana leather backpack … Burberry Check and Leather micro backpack … Graf Lantz Bedford … Bottega Veneta Medium Intrecciato … Troubadour Ember … Frank Clegg Classic backpack.”

+ Bagging a New Generation (The New York Times): “Baggu is enjoying something of a boom, especially among Gen Z and courtesy of TikTok, which is teeming with self-described ‘Baggu girlies,’ bound together by their appreciation for the brand. Search ‘Baggu,’ and the hundreds of TikToks posted have collected over 130 million views. Its ubiquity is not only online: Walk around a farmers’ market in any major city and you might lose count of how many Baggu bags you see.”

+ Something Navy’s CEO Is Out as Arielle Charnas’ Company Stops Producing Clothing, Closes Stores, and Explores a Sale (Business Insider): “With no new styles to offer, Something Navy lost wholesale partnerships with retailers including Shopbop and Nordstrom … In the first quarter of this year, Something Navy was so tight on cash that it couldn’t even fulfill all its orders: Its New Jersey warehouse, Outerspace, refused to ship any orders for several weeks after Something Navy fell behind on payments … Shipments are once again on hold after Something Navy told the warehouse it was figuring out its next steps as a brand.”

+ Why Sarah Jessica Parker Keeps Playing Carrie Bradshaw (The New Yorker): “Many of Parker’s … proclivities made it into ‘Sex and the City.’ Like Parker, who wasn’t allowed much candy as a kid, Carrie loves sweets … Like Parker, she avoids curse words … But Parker’s biggest effect on the character might be a matter of tone. Bushnell’s writing had a jaded quality. Her New York was glamorous and exciting but essentially Darwinian … Bushnell told me that Parker struck her as in some ways the character’s opposite. ‘She’s never really been a single woman … She’s always been successful.’ But Star felt it was important that the lead actress be able to bring congeniality to the edgy material. ‘Sarah Jessica projects a lot of warmth’ … For many performers, a career-defining role can be an albatross … At the same time, she has never felt a strong urge to escape her association with Carrie Bradshaw, perhaps because for Parker the outcome of whatever she’s making matters less than endeavoring to make it … She has a mental archive of seemingly every garment she wore on the show—and, thanks to a clause in her contract, has most of the actual garments, too, in cold storage—but is hazy on entire characters and storylines.”

+ Report: Shein Files for US IPO (The Business of Fashion): “The stock market debut could make Shein the most valuable Chinese company to go public in the United States since ride-hailing giant Didi Global listed in New York in 2021 at a $68 billion valuation. Didi was delisted from New York a year later amid Beijing’s crackdown on Chinese technology giants over antitrust and data security rules. Shein has confidentially submitted its IPO registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) … The stock market debut could come before the end of 2023 … Shein was valued in excess of $60 billion in a $2 billion private fundraising round in March … Shein has been eyeing a US IPO for at least three years but was deterred by headwinds that included US scrutiny of Chinese accounting practices and bouts of market volatility fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

+ Shein Flew Influencers to China to Help Its Image. A Backlash Ensued. (The New York Times): “Shein, which has reportedly been contemplating an initial public offering, has been trying to drum up good will after years of being relatively tight-lipped. The company started a unit for reselling its apparel to stave off criticism about sustainability, tapped independent designers to create new lines and hired federal lobbyists. Shein appeared to be hoping that the influencer trip would help counteract a steady stream of critical news reports … In reality, the trip and the access that Shein gave the influencers stood in stark contrast to China’s increasingly hostile stance toward journalists in recent years. Negotiations have stalled between the United States and China over new visas for reporters at American news organizations … and at least one American reporter with a valid visa was recently barred from re-entering China after leaving the country for a routine trip.”

+ Boba Has Become a Top Snack Flavor, from Popcorn to Cookies and Ice Cream (Bloomberg): “… seven major urban areas in the US … saw a 60%-plus jump in the number of bubble tea shops from 2019 to 2022. The US market for boba, which has its own dedicated emoji, is expected to jump from $640 million in 2023 to $2.2 billion in 2033. Now the drink is moving into the snack-food category to become the flavor of choice for popcorn, protein bars, ice cream, cookies and more.”

+ Why Surrealist Marketing Is Suddenly Everywhere (The Business of Fashion): “Brand and marketing experts say at the base, images of floating handbags and self-driving shoes are more likely to cut through the noise on TikTok, where no-filter authenticity is the new norm. The public is also primed for a little more fantasy in their fashion advertising. There’s the bizarre, yet strikingly realistic-looking imagery generated by artificial intelligence platforms like DALL-E and Midjourney … As brands try to top each other’s absurd campaigns, the pendulum may quickly swing back … campaigns will grow weirder and more outlandish until a more traditional campaign might ironically be seen as more refreshing.”

+ Jenna Lyons, Unlikely Housewife (The New York Times): “After she left J. Crew, the fashion industry, once enamored with her, seemed to move on. There were no enticing job offers, and fewer fancy invitations to draw her out of her newfound isolation … ‘Out of hubris, or a sort of egoistic view of what I could handle, I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got this, I’ve done this before,’ ‘ said Ms. Lyons … ‘Going on the show for your business is always a bad idea … It will certainly bring exposure … But a lot of the women who go on for the sole purpose of promoting their business don’t want to pay the emotional slash reputational price that comes along with being a practitioner of the reality television arts and sciences.’ “

+ Inside the Secretive World of Penile Enlargement (ProPublica): “Over the years, Mick kept up with advances in male augmentation but wasn’t thrilled by the options. The gains from a vacuum pump were fleeting; hanging weights from the end of his shaft seemed like a painful investment for an uncertain result; and having a surgeon snip his suspensory ligament, which promised an additional inch or so, could lead to wobblier erections. It wasn’t until the spring of 2019 … that he came across … a silicone implant shaped like a hot­dog bun that could be inserted just under the skin of the penis to increase its girth and flaccid length … Mick wanted to see the implant before it was put inside him. The surgeon clicked open a briefcase containing three translucent sheaths: Large, Extra Large and Extra Extra Large. The device felt stiff to Mick’s touch, but Elist told him that over time it would soften to the consistency of a gummy bear … Because the FDA requires the pharmaceutical industry to conduct clinical studies of new drugs, it is often assumed that the same is required of medical­ device manufacturers. However, a loophole known as the 510(k) process allows companies to implant untested products in patients as long as they can demonstrate that the devices are ‘substantially equivalent’ to those already on the market … The subculture of penile enhancement remains shrouded in stigma, because for a man to admit that he wants to be bigger suggests that he isn’t big enough … Only six of the 49 enlargement patients I spoke to agreed to have their last names printed, also fearing ridicule. In such a taboo and information-­poor environment, anonymous testimonials can take on the authority of peer­-reviewed journal articles … When a foreign object is placed in the body, the body reacts by forming an envelope of tissue around it. In the penis, a re­tractable organ, this new tissue can distort shape and mobility, causing the penis to shorten and curve. The disfigurement can be exacerbated if the Penuma is removed … since the penis can contract to seal up the vacuum of space.”

+ Elite Multiculturalism Is Over (The Atlantic): “… the gamble of affirmative action also benefited my alma mater—and all the predominantly white, elite institutions whose very DNA was changed by the practice. Though Clarence Thomas has clearly never gotten over what some see as the ‘stigma’ of affirmative action, I certainly did. The same way that my worldview was expanded at Brown, the presence of minority students expanded the worldviews of our classmates. We pretend we live in an equal and integrated society despite increased segregation over the past generation in our neighborhoods and our schools. A 2014 study found that three-quarters of white people didn’t have a single nonwhite friend. For many of my white classmates, college was their first chance to have meaningful relationships with a person from a different background. They participated—by force or by choice—in difficult conversations in dorm rooms about money or noise, and in classrooms about different assumptions. They were introduced to other cultures—salsa, banda, stepping, bhangra. In so many ways, the growing presence of people of color improved the ‘enrichment experience’ for everyone around us.”

+ Mark Your Calendars: ‘Barbenheimer’ Is Coming (The New York Times): “Memes, videos and online chatter have flooded social media, and some people are making plans to see the two movies on the same day. A debate about which order to see them in … hasn’t been settled … What all this hype means for box office results for either film is unclear, and awareness doesn’t always translate into attendance.

+ The Case Against Travel (The New Yorker): ” ‘Tourism’ is what we call travelling when other people are doing it. And, although people like to talk about their travels, few of us like to listen to them. Such talk resembles academic writing and reports of dreams: forms of communication driven more by the needs of the producer than the consumer … touristic travel exists for the sake of change. But what, exactly, gets changed? … We go to experience a change, but end up inflicting change on others … The single most important fact about tourism is this: we already know what we will be like when we return. A vacation is not like immigrating to a foreign country, or matriculating at a university, or starting a new job, or falling in love. We embark on those pursuits with the trepidation of one who enters a tunnel not knowing who she will be when she walks out. The traveller departs confident that she will come back with the same basic interests, political beliefs, and living arrangements. Travel is a boomerang. It drops you right where you started.”

+ Recently purchased: J. Crew New Apron Dress, Reformation Ezra Pleated Knit Organic Cotton Minidress, Alice + Olivia Rowen Pussy-Bow Satin and Metallic Flocked Chiffon Mini Dress, The North Face Berkeley Field Bag, English Factory Floral Tie Front Strapless Dress, and J.Crew Stefania Dress in Limone Scarf Print.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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