Weekly Link Roundup

♥ If you are a J.Crew email subscriber, check for an account-specific offer celebrating J.Crew Passport‘s (the brand’s revamped loyalty program) first birthday. Most accounts should have received 30% off or 40% off full-price purchase offers, which is one of the better sales on full-price styles that I’ve seen in recent months. Unfortunately, bestsellers like the Emilie Patch-Pocket Sweater Lady Jacket (reviewed here) and the Giselle Sweater-Blazer are excluded from the sale, but there is still an attractive assortment of styles to add to cart, including the cotton-blend version of the Odette Sweater Lady Jacket (I reviewed a relaxed take on this style here). A few more picks:

Unravelling What Threads Means for Fashion (The Business of Fashion): “Unveiled on July 6, Threads quickly dominated social media conversation, reaching 30 million downloads in less than 24 hours … despite the early rush, much remains to be seen about fashion’s future on Threads … While Threads’ automatic Instagram integration makes it an easy platform to adopt — and build a following on — the number of fashion and beauty players not on Threads far outweighs those that are … Threads has yet to prove it has staying power. Since its early spike, engagement is already down drastically and the app fell from the top spot on Apple’s App Store to the fourteenth, behind YouTube and just above Facebook … Early activity suggests Threads will serve as casual and conversational conduit for more timely announcements and humour-filled conversations between brands and users, but it’s yet to be seen if that strategy will be an effective one. As well, the return on investment for brands on Threads is unclearTwitter hasn’t been a focus for fashion since the early 2010s, and even then, its influence never reached the heights that Instagram or TikTok later did.”

Soft Pants: The Postpandemic Benefit That’s Here to Stay (The New York Times): “… we are now demanding from our pants attributes we are also seeking in others and in ourselves. We want them to be forgiving and reassuring. We want them to nurture us. We want them to say: ‘I was there, too. I experienced it. I came out on the other side more carefree and less rigid. And I learned about the importance of ventilation in the process.’ ”

Why Barbie Must Be Punished (The New Yorker): “… there was something about Barbie that especially demanded crisis: her perfection. That’s why Barbie needed to have a special kind of surgery; why she was dying; why she was in danger. She was too flawless, something had to be wrong. I treated Barbie the way a mother with Munchausen syndrome by proxy might treat her child: I wanted to heal her, but I also needed her sick. I wanted to become Barbie, and I wanted to destroy her. I wanted her perfection, but I also wanted to punish her for being more perfect than I’d ever beThe story of Barbie has always been a story about mothers and daughters. The very first Barbie—created by a businesswoman named Ruth Handler, the first president of Mattel—was named after her own daughter, Barbara. … The Handlers did not just have a daughter named Barbie, they also had a son named—yes—Ken, who never wanted to buy Barbies for his own daughters and has long been troubled by his parents’ cultural legacy.”

Ralph Lauren to Keep Raising Prices in Brand Elevation Push (The Business of Fashion): “Ralph Lauren plans to keep lifting the average price of its products, a sign the US apparel company is doubling down on efforts to elevate the cachet of its brands and to sell higher-priced items such as home goods … Ralph Lauren says it has raised the average price of its products by around 80 percent since 2018, while its gross margin — a profitability metric — has also increased versus pre-pandemic … Ralph Lauren’s gross margins in the most recent quarter were 62 percent, which is lower than competitors such as Capri Holdings and Coach parent Tapestry.

What If Germany Stopped Making Cars? (The Economist): “An imminent implosion of the car industry seems unlikely … Yet disaster is no longer inconceivable. German industrialists are feeling real angst about the future. In July an index of business confidence … fell for the third consecutive month … Having benefited from the Asian giant’s rapid growth in recent decades—in the second half of 2022 Germany’s three big car companies made around 40% of their revenue there—they are now suffering from a reversal of fortunes. Volkswagen has just cut its global delivery forecast owing chiefly to slowing Chinese sales … And Chinese rivals have started expanding abroad, particularly in Europe. Last year, for the first time, China exported more cars than Germany: around 3m and 2.6m vehicles, respectively … Carmaking directly employs fewer than 900,000 people in Germany, two-thirds of them at the car firms and the rest at their suppliers. That is just 2% or so of Germany’s total workforce. Nearly three-quarters of passenger cars sold under a German brand are now made abroad. Last year a mere 3.5m vehicles left local factories—about as many as in the mid-1970s.”

Hollywood Strike Leaves Influencers Sidelined and Confused (The New York Times): “The union’s message that content creators will be blocked from membership if they provide work or services for struck companies has sent many scrambling. A number of creators have pledged support for writers and actors and circulated “scab” lists of influencers who promote new releases or appear at related events. Others have been frustrated or confused by instructions from a union that doesn’t protect them, and that some had never heard of … The reality for many creators is that they dream of someday achieving a level of fame beyond the smartphone screen, making the threat of blacklisting by Hollywood’s most powerful union an ominous one.”

It’s Livvy Dunne’s World (Elle): “Olivia is … the most-followed college athlete in the country, with more than 13 million followers across platforms (7 million-plus on TikTok, 4 million-plus on Instagram, 1 million-plus on Snapchat, and 87,000-plus on Twitter). She’s turned all those eyeballs into cash, netting millions per year in endorsement deals. Olivia currently ranks second to USC men’s basketball commit Bronny James on On3’s NIL 100 List of top high school and college annual-earning projections, and one ahead of Texas quarterback Arch Manning. The obsession with her runs so deep that you can buy a throw blanket with her face on it for $61.45, while T-shirts that read ‘Mentally Dating Olivia Dunne’ go for $23.34 … With all the attention … There are the trash websites that follow her every move, oversexualizing even the most innocent of her posts … At LSU’s opening meet of the 2023 season, an away meet at the University of Utah, a mob of unruly young male Livvy fans chanted wildly during the competition, disrupting the performance of other gymnasts. There were also reports of gymnasts being harassed as the estimated 100 to 200 men demanded to see Livvy.”

An Abortion Ban Made Them Teen Parents. (The Washington Post): “At the center of the abortion debate is the question of how an unwanted pregnancy, carried to term, reverberates through the lives of those directly involved. The most prominent study on the subject, conducted by a pro-abortion-rights research group … included interviews with nearly 1,000 women over the course of eight years. The study, which was published as a book in 2020, found that women who are denied abortions experience worse financial, health and family outcomes than those who are able to end their pregnancies.”

Why Walmart Is Trouncing Amazon in the Grocery Wars (The Economist): “In bricks-and-mortar, Walmart’s lead is huge. It has the largest footprint in America, with about 4,700 outlets, compared with 530 Whole Foods, 44 Amazon Fresh and 22 Amazon Go shops. Grocery accounts for most of its sales, whereas for Amazon they are a sliver. Its ‘everyday low prices’ work: a survey … found equivalent products at Amazon Fresh were far pricier. Walmart’s speed of delivery matches Amazon’s … because shoppers like to see, feel and smell their groceries before buying them, the scarcity of stores is a problem … Amazon Fresh is accessible to just over a third of Americans. In contrast, 90% of them live within ten miles (16km) of a Walmart.”

Luxury Slowdown? Not So Fast (The Business of Fashion): “LVMH … still grew by 21 percent in Q2, driven by momentum in China and Japan, and the return of tourist spend in Europe. But its overall results did not meet consensus expectations, and there was a marked weakness in the US where Q2 sales contracted by one percent … at … Kering … Gucci grew by only 1 percent in the second quarter, missing analyst expectations of 4.2 percent. Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta also showed slowing growth of 7 percent and 3 percent respectively. And revenues from Kering’s ‘other brands’ — which include crisis-prone Balenciaga — actually shrank by 1 percent … Hermès … came in first in the league tables. With a focus on high-net-worth customers, the ultra-luxe brand zoomed past all its rivals and consensus expectations, delivering 27.5 percent organic growth in Q2, including more than 20 percent growth in the US market.”

Fighting for Anthony: The Struggle to Save Portland, Oregon (The New York Times): “This city of 635,000, home to the world’s largest bookstore and majestic views of snowcapped Mount Hood, has long grappled with homelessness. But during the pandemic this perennial problem turned into an especially desperate and sometimes deadly crisis that is dividing Portland over how to fix it … rampant fentanyl use has coincided with the increasing turmoil among many homeless residents … Over two days in mid-May, seven people died of overdoses across Portland.”

Aritzia Employees Describe Culture of Fear, Obsession with Appearance (Business Insider): “… while the world of fashion is notoriously cutthroat, working at Aritzia was particularly grueling. Many said this culture stemmed from Hill, who prioritized aesthetics above all else, obsessed over details as minute as the font color in presentations, and at times became so enraged that he yelled and threw things in front of his employees … At Aritzia’s Vancouver support office Hill’s presence was everywhere. For a time, the commissary even offered a kale-and-celery BH Smoothie. Employees of stores that made the most sales on holidays like Boxing Day were rewarded with fake bills depicting Hill’s face that could be exchanged for real cash.”

Restaurants Are Adding Tiny Seats for Big Luxury Handbags (Bloomberg): “Fine diners will recognize the purse stool as a familiar sight in high-end dining rooms … however, those opulent emblems are taking up real estate in more casual-dining rooms, from brasseries in Miami to steakhouses in Boston … These purse rests go beyond stools; they can take many forms, from a mini coat rack to a basket.”

Tech Firms Once Powered New York’s Economy. Now They’re Scaling Back. (The New York Times): “Facing many business challenges, large technology companies have laid off more than 386,000 workers worldwide since early 2022 … And they have pulled out of millions of square feet of office space because of those job cuts and the shift to working from home. That retrenchment has hurt lots of tech hubs, and San Francisco has been hit the hardest with an office vacancy rate of 25.6 percent … New York is doing better than San Francisco — Manhattan has a vacancy rate of 13.5 percent — but it can no longer count on the technology industry for growth. More than one-third of the roughly 22 million square feet of office space available for sublet in Manhattan comes from technology, advertising and media companies.”

♥ Recently purchased: Cole Haan Cloudfeel Knotted Espadrille Loafer, Fjällräven Kånken Sling Shoulder Bag, FARM Rio Romantic Bandanas Off-White Romper, Line & Dot Women’s Alexa Cardigan, Lululemon Align™ Dress, Free People Forget Me Not Trench Coat, Free People Lexi Dress, and Max Mara Cambusa Wool-Blend Teddy Cape.

Have a great week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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