Weekly Link Roundup

March 06, 2018

J. Crew Portfolio Dress in Navy  // size 00
Workwear is 30% off at J. Crew with code WORKIT until 3/10/18. My picks: Portfolio Dress (above from 2016; brought back again this year), Résumé Dress (reviewed here), New Lightweight Sweater Blazer (ordered!), Lurex® Wrap Sweater, Relaxed Boy Shirt, Cashmere Cardigan Sweater with Shawl Collar, and Drapey Popover.

▪ "Nordstrom Family’s Bid to Buy the Retailer Is Rejected" (The New York Times): "A special committee of the retailer’s board rejected a roughly $8.4 billion offer from the Nordstrom family to buy the company ... the committee said the cash offer of $50 a share was 'inadequate,' and it threatened to cut off further discussions with the family group ... Nordstrom shares closed at $51.90 on Monday."

▪ "China Is Turning Ethiopia Into a Giant Fast-Fashion Factory" (Bloomberg): "We’ve arrived at a new moment for the global apparel industry. This drought-afflicted, landlocked country of 100 million on the Horn of Africa is transforming itself into the lowest rung on the supply chain that pours out fast fashion and five-for-$12.99 tube socks."

▪ "The Design Theory Behind Amazon’s $5.6 Billion Success" (Co.Design): "From an aesthetic point of view, Amazon’s web store is neither simple nor  beautiful ... Instead, it focuses on simplicity of experience, process, and functionality ... Amazon’s design succeeds because it makes use of four key principles that all great shopping experiences embody ... transparent ... tangible ... trustworthy ... helpful.

▪ "Eight Years Later, Google Fiber Is A Faint Echo Of The Disruption We Were Promised" (Vice): "Even without anti-competitive roadblocks, progress was slow. Digging up city streets and burying fiber was already a time-consuming and expensive process ... By late 2016, Google executives clearly started becoming disenfranchised by the slow pace and high costs of digging up the nation’s streets and challenging politically-powerful incumbents."

▪ "Dorm Living for Professionals Comes to San Francisco" (The New York Times): "Shared bathrooms at the end of the hall and having no individual kitchen or living room is becoming less weird for some of the city’s workers thanks to Starcity, a new development company that is expressly creating dorms for many of the non-tech population."

▪"How Everlane Is Building The Next-Gen Clothing Brand" (Fast Company): "Everlane has functioned without a creative director since Rebekka Bay ... left for Uniqlo last February. Preysman prefers a more diffuse structure. A team of designers presents ideas to him, along with head of creative Alexandra Spunt ... and a handful of other department heads. Together they decide what to add to the lineup ... Everlane uses its waiting lists, along with real-time data and customer feedback, to make inventory decisions. When in doubt, it stocks less."

▪ "What Stores Do With $90 Billion in Merchandise Returns" (The Wall Street Journal): "Often, retailers offload rejected clothes, appliances and toys for pennies on the dollar through a vast ecosystem of resellers, ranging from outlet stores and online auctions to flea markets and salvage dealers ... These post-retail sales, including both returns and overstocked items, totaled $554 billion in 2016, and have been growing at about 7.5% a year ... January and February are the busiest months for resellers and the so-called reverse supply chain ... The most common returns are clothing and apparel, followed by electronics, beauty products and sports or outdoor gear ... Roughly half of holiday-season returns go back on the shelf, much of it to be sold again at a discount ... The other half winds its way through various secondary channels over the next several months, depending on the goods’ resale value and seasonality."
▪ "LL Bean, Citing Abuse, Tightens Its Generous Policy on Returns" (The New York Times):"L. L. Bean ... famous for its 100 percent satisfaction guarantee, said that a growing number of customers had abused the policy by treating it as a 'lifetime product-replacement program.' The retailer will immediately begin enforcing stricter rules for shoppers seeking to exchange items or obtain or get refunds. Under the new policy, consumers will have a year to make returns, and will be required to provide proof of purchase."

▪ "How Trump’s Hudson Tunnel Feud Threatens the National Economy" (Bloomberg): "Northeast Corridor ... the most heavily used passenger rail line in the U.S, both in ridership and service frequency. It extends 457 miles from Union Station in Washington to South Station in Boston, carrying more than 2,200 trains daily ... the North River Tunnel, the only passenger-rail connection between Manhattan and New Jersey, and the northern and southern portions of the Northeast Corridor ... has deteriorated because of age, exhaustive use and saltwater infiltration during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In 2014, Amtrak estimated that the passage had up to 20 years of service left. It needs an overhaul that will require each tube to be taken out of service for 18 months. Closing just one would reduce capacity to six trains per hour, a 75 percent cut."

▪ "The Rich Have Abandoned Rich-People Rugs" (The New York Times): "Blame our increasingly casual culture, one in which the perfect pair of jeans replaced the ornate Christian Lacroix gown as a status object. There has in fact been a 40-year move toward folkloric, less formal carpets. Wool is the new silk. Established imperfections are part of the sales pitch."

▪ "Retweets Are Trash" (The Atlantic): "Every layer of the digital-media economy has been reconfigured to produce shareable stuff ... Over time, this emphasis on shareability has created an enormous change in what all of us, not just social-media users, see on our screens ... Two Wharton professors have found that anger tops the list of shareable emotions in the social-media world, and a study of the Chinese internet service Weibo found that rage spreads faster than joy, sadness, and disgust."

▪ Take 30% off everything at Express today (3/6/18; no code needed). My picks; Gingham Tie Waist Ruffled Shirt Dress, High Waisted Clean Front Pencil Skirt, Striped Cotton Ruffle Wrap Shirt Dress, Floral Off The Shoulder Fit And Flare Maxi Dress, Long Sleeve Tie Front Shirt Dress, and Slim Fit Gingham Portofino Shirt.

▪ "Can There Be Good Porn?" (The New York Times): "Context reminds people of all the things they don’t see in the final product. It underscores that pornography is a performance, that just as in ballet or professional wrestling, we are putting on a show ... Sex and sexual fantasies are complicated. So much of emotionally safer sex is dependent on knowing and paying attention to your partner. We in the industry can add context to our work, but I don’t know that it’s possible, at the end of the day, for what is meant to be an entertainment medium to regularly demonstrate concepts as intangible as these. We cannot rely on pornography to teach empathy, the ability to read body language, or how to discuss sexual boundaries — especially when we’re talking about young people who have never had sex. Porn will never be a replacement for sex education."

▪ "To Get Rich In Crypto You Just Need An Idea, And a Coin" (Wired): "ICOs are monumental marketing efforts. Their websites are glitzy, brimming with facile sci-fi rhetoric, and featuring anxiety-inducing countdown timers ... ICOs have less to fear from regulation than they have from their own self-contradictions ... As the price of Bitcoin and Ether skyrockets, founders might find it more convenient to latch onto their ever-more-valuable cryptocurrency stash rather than use it to build their project."

▪ "Bitcoin Is Falling Out of Favor on the Dark Web" (The Atlantic): "... problems with using bitcoin on the dark web ... have piled up. Purchasers and vendors are cancelling orders, losing money, and fleeing to other forms of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin remains in wide use for drugs and other illegal goods, but the shadowy markets that made it famous, and infamous, are turning on it ... The first issue lies in the extreme volatility of the price of bitcoin ... the mechanics of buying drugs on the dark web. A purchaser buys bitcoin, reviews vendors’ offers on a marketplace, and then pays for his goods. His money generally goes into escrow before it is released to his vendor. This introduces a number of financial choke points and transaction delays ... The second reason bitcoin is falling out of favor on the dark web has to do with the sudden increase in the cost of transacting in bitcoin ... the price of a bitcoin transaction recently spiked as high as $55 ... A third issue has to do with anonymity—or really, a lack of it."

▪ "Donald Glover Can’t Save You" (The New Yorker): "Noting that he often spoke about how life would be different if he were White Donald, I asked Glover how our conversations would be different if I were black. He gave me a considering look. 'We’d have a language we both understood, and you’d know me better,' he said. 'But as Black Tad you’d only be in a position of talking to me because you were good at placating a white audience. As a black person, you have to sell the black culture to succeed. So I’d try to trust Black Tad, but it’s really up to him whether he’d sell us out' ... I asked Glover if there was a possibility, given his belief that the black experience was more interesting—albeit far more painful—than the white experience, that White Donald wouldn’t have ended up where Black Donald has. Very softly, he said, 'Would you rather be a person who has all the opportunities but can’t see them? Or a person who can see all the opportunities but can’t have them?' Probably the latter, I said. You? 'Yeah, there’s something beautiful about being able to see it all.' "

▪ "Silicon Valley Is Over, Says Silicon Valley" (The New York Times): "In recent months, a growing number of tech leaders have been flirting with the idea of leaving Silicon Valley. Some cite the exorbitant cost of living in San Francisco and its suburbs, where even a million-dollar salary can feel middle class. Others complain about local criticism of the tech industry and a left-wing echo chamber that stifles opposing views. And yet others feel that better innovation is happening elsewhere ... This isn’t a full-blown exodus yet. But in the last three months of 2017, San Francisco lost more residents to outward migration than any other city in the country."

▪ Recently purchased: Forever 21 Transparent Faux Leather Crossbody Bag, H&M Lace Dress, Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Liquid Balm, Dolce & Gabbana Queen of Hearts Graphic Tee, and Ann Taylor Ruffle Tweed Jacket. .

Have a great week, everyone!

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