Weekly Link Roundup

+ The SAUKOLE Oversized Crew Neck Pullover seen above is an extra 37% off with code 37RFIOCX at Amazon. This code is valid through 10/9, and stacks with on-page coupons.

+ Luxury Fashion’s Designer Diversity Problem Persists (The Business of Fashion): “Compared to other roles … the skill set required to become a creative director in fashion is markedly nebulous … The hazy nature of the job — which has stretched in recent years to include everyone from true garment technicians as well as models, actors and other cultural curators — makes it harder to apply a rigorous criteria for diversity, equity, and inclusion … Still, the industry should see the social media backlash Kering shouldered following the appointment of McGirr as a testament to the continued desire from consumers to see the fashion industry change.”

+ How Will A.I. Learn Next? (The New Yorker): “High-quality data is not necessarily a renewable resource, especially if you treat it like a vast virgin oil field, yours for the taking. The sites that have fuelled chatbots function like knowledge economies, using various kinds of currency—points, bounties, badges, bonuses—to broker information to where it is most needed, and chatbots are already thinning out the demand side of these marketplaces, starving the human engines that created the knowledge in the first place. This is a problem for us, of course: we all benefit from a human-powered Web. But it’s also a problem for A.I. It’s possible that A.I.s can only hoover up the whole Web once. If they are to continue getting smarter, they will need new reservoirs of knowledge. Where will it come from? A.I. companies have already turned their attention to one possible source: chat. Anyone who uses a chatbot like Bard or ChatGPT is participating in a massive training exercise. In fact, one reason that these bots are provided for free may be that a user’s data is more valuable than her money: everything you type into a chatbot’s text box is grist for its model … the C.E.O. of OpenAI, has said that synthetic data might also soon overtake the real thing in training runs for L.L.M.s. The idea would be to have a GPT-esque model generate documents, conversations, and evaluations of how those conversations went, and then for another model—perhaps just a copy of the first—to ingest them. The hope is to enter a training regime similar to that of A.I.s designed for games like chess and Go, which learn largely through ‘self-play.’ In each step of training, the A.I. learns something about the game by playing an opponent that’s exactly its equal; from that experience, it improves just a little bit, and then the slightly better version of the bot squares off against its slightly-better self and improves again. Up and up it goes … there are reasons to be skeptical—including the obvious one that, no matter how smart you are, you can’t learn new facts about the world by reviewing what you already know.”

+Gossip Is good. Tattling Is Bad. (Vox): “Like it so often does, TikTok has figured out a way to siphon the joy away from something crucial. This time, it’s complaining and gossiping about your friends. The social media platform that has emboldened regular people to turn into front-facing-camera personalities has spurred some of these characters to eavesdrop and then snitch on random gossipers.”

+ Uniqlo Owner Scouts for More India Partners After 60% Sales Jump (The Business of Fashion): “The Japanese apparel giant is currently working with over 20 sewing factories and mills in India that has enabled it to meet the federal government’s requirement of sourcing at least 30 percent of its inventory from local sources … Uniqlo, which opened its first store in New Delhi in 2019, now has 11 stores in India and is planning to add a second store in Mumbai later this month. It posted a profit of 683 million rupees ($8.2 million) for the year ended March 31 on a revenue of 6.24 billion rupees — a surge of 60 percent from the year-ago period.”

+ It’s been months since I last touched a thriller, and I didn’t realized how much I was craving one until I read Julie’s Clark’s The Last Flight (free if you have Kindle Unlimited). I would’ve finished it in one sitting if not for the fact that I started reading the night before a busy work day. It’s a perfect palate cleanser, which I desperately needed after slogging through Walter Isaacson’s Musk biography. There’s a lot to like: a female-characters driven plot, Clark’s easy prose, the lack of gotcha! twists, and the interesting premise– two strangers on the run trade boarding passes at an airport bar… then one of the planes crashes. It’s a 4-out-of-5-stars book for me, as the leads’ characterizations occasionally verged on conventional stereotypes and the mystery stewed at a low-heat intensity throughout (I’d argue it never reaches a satisfying crescendo). I think I would’ve enjoyed it even more if I didn’t immediately try to read Clark’s follow-up, The Lies I Tell, which I abandoned after three pages (but plan to pick up after some distance) as the formula felt too similar to TLF.

+ You Won’t Lose Weight on Ozempic Forever (The New York Times): “The human body is built to fight back against weight loss … Medications like Ozempic mimic a naturally occurring hormone and slow the emptying of the stomach, so that we feel fuller, faster and for longer. They also target the areas of the brain that regulate appetite, curbing cravings … most people taking these medications will hit a plateau around the 18-month mark after starting treatment.”

+ The Newest Addition to the Office Wardrobe? Serious Athletic Sneakers (Bloomberg): “The global sneaker industry generated $131.1 billion in 2021 … It’s anticipated to be valued at $215.6 billion a year by 2031. One of the main reasons for this continued growth … is that people are wearing sneakers in new environments—the office among them … In decades past, workers would swap out their commuting sneakers for something dressier. But a new category of footwear—called “luxury performance” by APL—now means the second pair has been staying homeMaterial innovations have also contributed to an improvement in the way sneakers feel.”

+ Hasan Minhaj’s “Emotional Truths” (The New Yorker): “… Minhaj acknowledged, for the first time, that many of the anecdotes he related in his Netflix specials were untrue. Still, he said that he stood by his work. ‘Every story in my style is built around a seed of truth … My comedy Arnold Palmer is seventy per cent emotional truth—this happened—and then thirty per cent hyperbole, exaggeration, fiction’ … Minhaj insisted that, though both stories were made up … The broader points he was trying to make justified concocting stories in which to deliver them … But was his invention of a traumatic experience with his child or with law-enforcement entrapment distasteful, given the moral heft of those things, and the fact that other people have actually experienced them?”

+ Levi Strauss Cuts Annual Forecasts as Promotions, Wholesale Weakness Weigh (The Business of Fashion): “Unseasonably warm weather through the late summer and fall also hurt sales, particularly of men’s jeans in wholesale channels where Levi’s has less control over product displays … Levi has struggled with declining sales at its overall wholesale business, particularly in North America, which has a higher exposure to the middle-income consumer … Levi’s adjusted gross margins declined 130 basis points to 55.6 percent during the third quarter, also hurt by lower full-price selling and higher product costs.”

+ Sale styles are an extra 60% off at J.Crew with code SALETIME. Some picks:

+ Prada and Axiom Space Collaborate to Cesign NASA’s Lunar Spacesuits (Reuters): “Italian luxury group Prada and Texas-based startup Axiom Space will collaborate to design NASA’s lunar spacesuits for the Artemis III mission planned for 2025 … Prada’s engineers will work alongside the Axiom Space systems team throughout the design process, developing solutions for materials and design features to protect astronauts against the challenge of space and the lunar environment.”

+ Watch Out for This Common Intimacy Killer (The New York Times): “Holding hands in line at the dry cleaners gives way to kissing only as foreplay, and eventually any touching is interpreted as a prelude to sex. The touch can feel ‘loaded,’ because an expectation is attached to it … Practice nonsexual touching … If you repeatedly encounter bristles when you make a move, it might be time to change up your tactics … experts advise having a conversation about your preferred initiation style.”

+ The Great Zelle Pool Scam (Business Insider): “… Zelle… an entity wholly owned by a company called Early Warning Services LLC, which is itself owned by a consortium of America’s largest banks: Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, PNC, Truist, Capital One, and US Bank … Just as Disney and NBC and Warner Bros. knew they must chase Netflix on a downward spiral of shrinking revenue into the murky depths of oblivion, the big banks knew they had to launch Zelle to let their customers give one another money … without paying any fees. Today Zelle is by far America’s most used P2P payment platform, with twice as many transactions as Venmo.”

+ A Robot’s Nightmare Is a Burrito Full of Guac (The Atlantic): “That cooking robots are usually sufficient at a task or two is part of what makes them so tough for restaurants … Even if a device succeeds at a fairly simple chore, the location must adapt their production around it … if it can even fit in the existing kitchen … Even if machines don’t fully take over the chain’s kitchens, automating more parts of the process would save the company lots of money and produce a burrito bowl that is more consistent from store to store.”

+ Recently purchased: Tory Burch Cap-Toe Ballet Flats, Banana Republic Rosie Sweater Dress, Saint Laurent Manhattan Mini Leather Shoulder Bag, Maeve Mock Neck Mini Shift Dress, UMAY Walking Pad 512, Osprey Arcane Zip Wallet, J.Crew Heritage Fleece Hoodie, and Free People Orion A-Line Tunic Sweater.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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  1. Amy L wrote:

    Hi Elle! I was eyeing the YSL Manhattan bag as well. I love the classic vibe from it and the one section interior. I dislike when structured bags or actually any bags in general have divided sections. Haha it’s just a personal functionality preference for me. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

    Posted 10.7.23 Reply
    • Elle wrote:

      Will let you know if I decide to keep it! I have ordered this bag in other two sizes before but the lack of a crossbody strap was a dealbreaker for me… while the mini has the strap that I am looking for, I wish it were a little bigger. Really love the minimalist design and the one compartment interior but don’t know why crossbody straps aren’t included for the other sizes. :/

      Posted 10.9.23 Reply