Weekly Link Roundup

+ J.Crew just re-released the Odette Sweater Lady Jacket (with “Jewel Buttons” instead of the brand’s go-to gold buttons); the “original” remains one of my favorite transitional pieces so I am happy to see it in the fall lineup:

+ She Burned It All Down, to Build the Perfect Dress (The New York Times): “… the dress is woven from a proprietary fabric made by a Virginia company called Circ, which has patented technology to separate and recycle poly-cotton blends — meaning one part is polyester and one part is cotton — into fibers that can be respun into fabricMs. Hoffman’s dresses represent what both companies are billing as the first time Circ lyocell fabric is being used for a luxury product, as an alternative to silk, which she has eliminated from her offerings … Circ’s original technology was developed for tobacco farms that were no longer supplying cigarette manufacturers.”

+ Can Walmart Finally Crack Fashion? (The Business of Fashion): “… the world’s biggest retailer has added over 1,000 new brands to its apparel roster … and overhauled its in-house offering. Walmart is working with the designer Brandon Maxwell on two private labels and selling more trendy, seasonal pieces like fleece jackets and ankle boots alongside the usual assortment of plain T-shirts and sweatpants. None of these additions are particularly revolutionary. But for Walmart, which is one of the world’s biggest apparel sellers thanks to cheap basics but has struggled for decades to be seen as a fashion destination, these changes count as groundbreaking … For its latest fashion refresh, Walmart is going back to private labels. In womenswear, there are Scoop and Free Assembly designed by Brandon Maxwell, as well as a denim-forward fashion line in partnership with Sofia Vergara and activewear line Love & Sports, created by former Milly designer Michele Smith and well-known SoulCycle instructor Stacey Griffith.”

+ Welcome to the Soft-Girl Revolution: How Young Women Are Rejecting Girlboss Culture for a Life of Leisure (Glamour): “For many Gen Z women who have entered the workforce during the past few years, their greatest dream increasingly is to have the chance to achieve nothing. At least, by traditional capitalist standards … The soft girl doesn’t value the grind or getting ahead. She prioritizes slow living. Her days are filled with a nearly obsessive focus on self-care.

+ I Don’t Have to Post About My Outrage. Neither Do You. (The New York Times): “There’s a facile version of taking a stand on social media that generates righteous back patting but reduces complex issues to a simple yes or no. Taking simplistic stands can also lead to twisting words. Concern for Palestinians is portrayed as support for Hamas or hatred toward Israel or Jews in general. Anger about Hamas’s deadly attacks on Israeli citizens — or any mention of antisemitism — is portrayed as denigrating the dignity of all Palestinian lives. This kind of thinking is deeply unserious and further fuels hostilities, warping nuanced positions into extremism and mistaking tweet-length expressions of outrage for brave action in the face of atrocity.”

+ The EU’s Ban on Glitter Has Officially Gone Into Effect (Allure): “… the European Commission’s microplastics restriction went into effect, essentially banning the sale of microplastics in consumer products, including those used in cosmetics and detergents … glitter made from biodegradable, natural, or water-soluble materials is okay, as is glitter made from ‘inorganic’ materials such as metal and glass … Even when glitter is made from plant-based or synthetic cellulose, ‘it has to be wrapped in other materials that make it shiny and hold it together — and that is almost always aluminum and a plastic polymer film.’ “

+ How Danielle Bernstein’s WeWoreWhat Broke the Influencer Brand Curse (The Business of Fashion): “The celebrity brand boom in fashion and beauty has come and gone, and it’s become clear that more than a famous face with a devoted fanbase is needed to move product.”

+ Airbnb Is Fundamentally Broken, Its CEO Says. He Plans to Fix It. (Bloomberg): “Airbnb still hasn’t nailed the core aspects of its service … Consistency and reliability have become an enormous Achilles heel for Airbnb … Consumers have shown an enduring willingness to splurge on trave … but the limit to that may be slapping a $300 cleaning fee onto a weekend house rental that asks you to also take out the garbage, run the laundry, and clean the toilets … If and when Airbnb creates a loyalty program, it will have nothing to do with points or free stays … ‘In 2009, 2010, New York was like 70%, 80% of our business. Now no city comprises more than one-half percent of our business.’ “

+ A Day in the Life of Abed Salama: Anatomy of a Jerusalem Tragedy, a narrative nonfiction penned by Nathan Thrall, follows Abed Salama on the worst day of his life: Abed’s son, five-year-old Milad, had been on a school bus that burst into flames after colliding with a tractor-trailer, killing six and leaving some survivors with burns so severe they couldn’t be identified. In the chaos of the crash, Abed goes on a wild goose chase to find Milad, and his struggles along the way show readers the difficulty of life for Palestinians living near separation barriers.

One problem I find with books first written as magazine or newspaper articles is that in zooming out the lens to expand the story, writers sometimes lose focus of the compelling main storyline. And it happens here: the narrative occasionally meanders into a digression, especially when it shifts away from Abed.

For anyone looking to read more about why Palestinian discontentment keeps boiling over and how 70 years of conflict wound into a Gordian Knot, Abed Salama’s story opens a window into the segregationist bureaucracy that governs millions of Palestinian lives.

+ What if We Could All Control A.I.? (The New York Times): “Opening up A.I. governance could increase society’s comfort with these tools, and give regulators more confidence that they’re being skillfully steered. It could also prevent some of the problems of the social media boom of the 2010s, when a handful of Silicon Valley titans ended up controlling vast swaths of online speech … The researchers found that the public-sourced version of Claude performed roughly as well as the standard version on a few benchmark tests given to A.I. models, and was slightly less biased than the original.”

+ It’s Getting Too Expensive to Have Fun (The Wall Street Journal): “Nearly 60% of Americans say they have had to cut back on spending on live entertainment this year because of rising costsSome 37% of respondents said they can’t keep up with the rising price of events they want to attend, while more than 20% of Americans say they are willing to take on debt to continue to be able to afford their favorite entertainment activities. Roughly 26% of respondents said they don’t spend any money at all on live entertainment, up from 16% before the pandemic … Americans were on track to spend about $95 billion this year on tickets to spectator amusements including movies, live entertainment and sporting events That is up 23% from all of last year, and 12.5% higher than the $84.4 billion spent on the same entertainments in 2019, the last year before the pandemic shut down most spectator events.”

+ Queuing Is Not A Luxury Experience (The Business of Fashion): “… these days one of the greatest luxuries of all is time. And sometimes I just want to efficiently pop into a store and have a look around. I don’t need a sales associate to assist me with that and I don’t want to wait in a line.”

+ Goop to Launch Mass Market Beauty, Wellness Brand at Target, Amazon (Retail Dive): “Good.Clean.Goop which has a price range between $19.99 to $39.99 — will launch in stores and online at Target as well as Amazon … Goop’s move into more affordable products comes in contrast to the brand’s luxury reputation.”

+ It’s Not Enough to Love Disney. They Want to Live Disney. (The New York Times): “For some grown-up Disney evangelists … it’s not enough to pepper in a few Donald and Mickey tchotchkes — they want the whole house swathed in Disney décor.”

+ I spent most of last weekend laid up in bed watching Hijack, a pulpy seven-part thriller miniseries made for Apple TV, after getting the latest Covid booster (side effects were relatively mild for me compared to the first three!). If you enjoy 1997’s Air Force One, you should like this one as well. Idris Elba is perfect playing an inscrutable and wearied middle-aged divorcé whose very particular set of skills include “the negotiation.” If you can suspend disbelief (the contrast between the Hungarian PTUs and the UK ones is… striking) for 7 hours, this very entertaining show will keep you on the edge of your seat.

+ The Little-Known History of Shoulder Pads—and Why They Keep Coming Back (The Wall Street Journal): “… shoulder pads are actually a fairly standard element of tailoring Consider the massive form of Henry VIII in the 1500s, or the puffy gigot sleeve popular in the mid-1890s … these looks were achieved with excess fabric, for centuries an indicator of wealth. The modern shoulder pad, which is exactly what it sounds like, a bolster for the shoulders, originated as protective equipment for football players … Historically, women have worn clothing and accessories—corsets, shoes a size too small, tight gloves, shapewear—that diminish their physicality. Shoulder pads make the body more imposing. They call attention to it rather than reduce it. As women’s rights come under attack around the world, perhaps designers wish to indicate that women’s bodies are their own and should take up as much space as they want them to.”

+ We Thought Amazon Killed Local Bookstores. We Were So Wrong. (Texas Monthly): “The romance of the bookshop is strong. People have feelings for it that they don’t for other kinds of businesses that have been swamped by big-box chains or Amazon—Hugh Grant and Tom Hanks don’t star in rom-coms set in indie hardware shops. Part of our longing is because many of us have assumed that independent shops were passing into history. But suddenly that seems wrong—indie stores are roaring back. The American Booksellers Associations reports having about three hundred more members now than it did in 2019, before the pandemic. And the trend may be especially pronounced in Texas … the new entrepreneurs are filling needs in their towns, sometimes with particular readers in mind, and bringing new visions of what a bookstore can be.”

+ Canada Goose Plunges to All-Time Low as Jacket Sales Look Weak (Bloomberg): “… analysts recommended investors move to the sidelines as the economic outlook for key markets sours while warmer than usual fall weather and weak customer trends are expected to weigh on salesThey fear the outlook for China is poised to grow worse before it improves given the nation’s shaky real estate market, higher savings rate as consumers tighten purse strings and elevated youth unemployment rate. The analysts estimate that China makes up a quarter of Canada Goose’s sales, but tourism means Chinese clientele could make up a much larger portion.”

+ Fashion’s Groupthink Problem (The New York Times): “When one strategy seems to work, there is a mad rush to imitate it rather than recognizing that, in creative areas, it is exactly the thing you don’t know you want that becomes the most desirable thing; the thing that drives the next cycle of the imitation game. Simply following the pack may be safe, but it does not lead to the shock of success.”

+ Recently purchased: J.Crew Warwick Topcoat, Zella Hybrid Jacket, Lou & Grey Luvstretch Zip Side Pocket Leggings, ETCYY Oversized Sweater Dress, Maeve Long-Sleeve Button-Front Tulle Mini Dress, 47Brand The Yorkshire Terrier ’47 Clean Up Cap, Maje Robellow Ribbed-Knit Mini Dress, Lululemon Wundermost Ultra-Soft Nulu Scoop-Neck Cropped Tank, and SAUKOLE Two Piece Lounge Set.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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