Back in June, sisters Mia and Tatiana Escalante made headlines in Australia when they turned up at Australian Fashion Week in matching outfits. And before that, they had already amassed a strong Instagram following for their adorable getups.
Now, the Sydney-based duo, aged five and four, are launching their first apparel line in a brand of their own, the Mia x Tati Store.
The label’s pieces echo what the sisters look for in fashion; clothes are comfy and allow the wearer to run and move around freely.
The Mia x Tati Store features chic, gender-neutral outfits that put comfort at their forefront.
Outside the business, the siblings are kindred spirits and enjoy dressing up in coordinated outfits. Their camaraderie shows on their Instagram account, which now has drawn 748,000 followers since their parents opened it two years ago. In almost no time at all, they were scoring partnerships with brands.
“It just made sense for the girls to start their own fashion brand that really represents their style and show how simple it is to create trendy looks with everyday essentials,” the young fashionistas’ mother, Nga Escalante, told Daily Mail Australia in an interview.
Wingstop is expanding its body of chicken offerings with Thighstop, an online-only, temporary restaurant that will deliver chicken thighs via DoorDash amid a chicken shortage.
The “new thigh concept” will be available at more than 1,400 locations nationwide and is addressing the “consumer’s fear of a chicken wing shortage head-on,” the company said in a release provided by Thighstop spokesperson Megan Sprague.
“We think they’ll appeal to guests because they’re a different part of the chicken and therefore a new way to experience Wingstop flavor,” Charlie Morrison, CEO and chairman of Wingstop restaurants, said.
“They eat like a wing, but with more meat,” Morrison continued.
Chicken lovers will have access to a menu filled with crispy thighs of a naked and sauce-covered variety with 11 signature Wingstop flavors.
And it doesn’t stop with the drumstick. Other Wingstop items including its ranch and blue cheese dips, fried corn, french fries and rolls are also available to order from Thighstop.
Eventually, Morrison hopes thighs will be incorporated into the larger Wingstop menu as a permanent addition.
Thighstop claimed in its launch announcement that it is addressing consumer fear over a wing shortage which made the news last month.
The nation’s chicken wars and cravings for comfort food during the pandemic have made poultry so scarce and expensive that some restaurants are limiting or running out of chicken sandwiches, wings and tenders. Others are considering changes to menus and promotions.
Heavy winter storms took a larger bite out of supply. While some restaurants have not been able to meet demand, it’s unclear if and how the low supplies will affect consumers in the grocery store.
The poultry industry is tamping down growing alarm over a chicken shortage with National Chicken Council spokesman Tom Super saying there was a “very tight supply but short of a shortage.”
“Yes, supply is somewhat tight, but the sky certainly isn’t falling,” Super said in May. “Chicken producers are doing everything they can to overcome the devastating impact of Mother Nature when she inflicted the once-in-a-lifetime winter storm on Texas and nearby states — major chicken producing regions.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, broilers — chickens raised for meat — slaughter was down 4% in the first quarter of 2021, with pounds produced down 3%. Production began picking back up in early April, Super said.
Morrison said the shortage has less to do with product than it does with labor.
“The shortage has as much to do with the impact of government stimulus and creating an artificially high wage rate that is competitive to the people that are necessary to actually process chicken,” Morrison said. “Because of this, the absolute number of chickens that are being processed is down.”
Sales are still on the rise at Wingstop, though. Morrison said that Wingstop saw 20.7% sales growth in the first quarter of this year in spite of constraints. Introducing Thighstop, he said, allows the company to focus on additional parts of the chicken.
This year, LEGO and adidas really upped the ante. Just recently, the two turned the Superstar into a buildable set, everything from the sole up made entirely of black and white blocks. And while some would like to, the collectible is not at all wearable; but fear not as the Three Stripes have you covered with this July release.
Though it may lack some of the aforementioned’s charm, the pair is as close to identical as physically possible. The signature LEGO look is still retained for the most part, channelled by way of the side stripes as well as the heel tab and toe. Each, unlike the smooth white leathers adjacent, are ostensibly made up of actual pieces, covered with studs all throughout their exterior. What’s more, though a subtle addition relative to the rest, the energy is matched by blocky stitching and logo windows.
A release is currently set to hit adidas.com on July 15th at a retail of $140 USD.
The ads were part of Dolce & Gabbana’s China campaign. Soon after their launch, Diet Prada criticized the brand for “painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement or culture.”
“#DGlovesChina? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol,” the Instagram watchdog wrote at the time.
Aside from the questionable ads, Diet Prada also exposed a disturbing conversation between founder Stefano Gabbana and an Instagram user. In it, Gabbana called China “the country of sh*t.”
Dolce & Gabbana immediately faced a heavy backlash. Chinese celebrities began dropping out of an upcoming show in Shanghai, resulting in its cancellation.
In the wake of Diet Prada’s exposé, Dolce & Gabbana released a statement announcing that its Instagram page — as well as Gabbana’s — had been hacked. An internal investigation was reportedly conducted.
“We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China,” the label said.
However, many refused to believe the company’s claims. The outrage took a turn for the worse, involving industry professionals and other Chinese personalities.
But the situation seemed far from over. In early 2019, Dolce & Gabbana reportedly filed a defamation lawsuit against Diet Prada, seeking 4 million euros ($4.7 million) in damages (3 million euros for the brand and 1 million euro for Gabbana).
“With so much anti-Asian hate spreading in the U.S., it feels wrong to continue to remain silent about a lawsuit that threatens our freedom of speech. We are a small company co-founded by a person of color, trying to speak out against racism in our own community,” Diet Prada wrote in a new post.
Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit based at Fordham Law School, is reportedly coordinating Diet Prada’s defense through its pro bono clinic. It is also collaborating with Italian law firm AMSL Avvocati, which “graciously agreed” to represent the defendant at a reduced rate.
Diet Prada filed its defense on Monday. The watchdog is now asking the public for financial help through a GoFundMe page.
“We need your help more than ever to raise funds to cover law firm costs, filing fees, and other legal expenses,” Diet Prada wrote. “Going up against a large luxury brand is daunting, but your contribution means we can continue protecting our fundamental rights, but also preserve what is so special about the Diet Prada community.”
Social media users are calling for the removal of Teen Vogue’s new editor-in-chief after her anti-Asian tweets from as early as 2011 resurfaced.
Alexi McCammond, who was most recently a reporter for Axios, will take on the editorial role from March 24, according to publisher Condé Nast.
“Alexi has the powerful curiosity and confidence that embodies the best of our next generation of leaders,” Anna Wintour, global editorial director of Vogue and chief content officer of Condé Nast, said in a news release on Thursday.
“Her interest in fashion, wellness and important issues in the lives of the Teen Vogue audience and broad knowledge of business leaders, elected officials, influencers, photographers and filmmakers is unrivaled, and I’m so very pleased that she will be bringing her expertise and talents to our team.”
Following the announcement, several Instagram users brought up some of McCammond’s racist tweets from 2011 and 2012.
“Outdone by Asian,” she wrote in one tweet, adding the hashtag “#whatsnew.”
Diana Tsui, editorial director of restaurant guide The Infatuation, described McCammond as a “questionable hire” in an Instagram post. She mentioned that Condé Nast should have addressed McCammond’s problematic past, especially since her appointment comes amid a rise in anti-Asian violence across the country.
“Maybe we can give her some benefit of the doubt as these were done when she was still a student,” Tsui wrote. “But her ‘apology,’ which was only after people caught them in 2019, referred to them as ‘deeply insensitive.’ They are insensitive, they are racist.”
“Teen Vogue has positioned itself as a champion of inclusiveness and empowerment.Is this truly a leader who also embodies these beliefs?” Tsui asks. “Would a leader pre-emptively acknowledge the hurt caused by past actions with a future plan of action, or would a leader just ignore it and hope no one does a Google search?”
Stephen Alain Ko, a cosmetic and skincare formulator who has featured Teen Vogue articles in his website’s #BeautyRecap series, also criticized McCammond’s appointment on Instagram: “Condé Nast, this is not the fashion, beauty or political leadership we deserve… In 2021, I would be disappointed in a magazine that I contributed free labour to — for making a decision that pushed me back into the margins.”
Writer Arabelle Sicardi also took a jab at Condé Nast. “It’s like they want to fail into obsolescence,” she wrote in an Instagram Story.
Sicardi, who has contributed to Teen Vogue, went on to highlight the prevalence of anti-Asian sentiment in the fashion and media industry. She described McCammond’s hiring as “an affirmation of white supremacy.”
“It is a distinct lack of care for the Asian employees and other people of color that will have to work under new management.”
Instacart started as a grocery delivery service. But it’s increasingly moving into delivering office supplies, sporting goods, televisions, makeup and drug store essentials.
Its latest move: Instacart announced a partnership with Walgreens (WBA) Tuesday for same-day delivery on over-the-counter medications, beauty items and other drug store purchases. The partnership will start in Illinois and expand across the United States in the coming weeks to nearly 8,000 Walgreens stores.
The tie-up is happening as online shopping accelerates during the pandemic, and both Instacart and Walgreens are looking for ways to reach new customers.
Instacart is competing against Amazon (AMZN) and other delivery platforms like Postmates, DoorDash and Shipt, which is owned by Target. Teaming up with Walgreens helps Instacart continue to try to become an alternative to Amazon.
“Adding another big retail name to its roster is a win for Instacart,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said in an email. “Given Walgreens’ massive store footprint, this expands choice for a lot of Instacart users.”
Instacart mainly uses independent contract workers, not its own employees, to deliver orders, and its contract workers will shop for the items at Walgreens stores and then deliver them.
Since the pandemic began in March, Instacart has added hundreds of thousands of new contract workers. The company has also struck partnerships since then with Best Buy (BBY), Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), Sephora and Staples as it seeks to deliver a wider range of goods from top retailers. In August, Instacart partnered with Walmart (WMT), one of Amazon’s biggest competitors, to deliver groceries, home decor and electronics items.
CEO Apoorva Mehta told CNN Business in 2019 that an IPO for Instacart is “on the horizon,” and Instacart was valued at $17.7 billion in its latest round of funding in October.
In addition to the Instacart partnership, Walgreens offers delivery through Postmates and DoorDash and curbside pickup on online orders.
Drug stores have been focused on being local and convenient options for customers to grab essential items, but the rise of online shopping and home delivery has threatened that position, said Saunders. “Being on a platform like Instacart helps to remedy the weakness.” And since Walgreens does not have a delivery infrastructure of its own, it is partnering with companies that do, he said.
This is the unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth during that same time span. From March to June 2020, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos saw his wealth rise by an estimated $48 billion. The founder of the video-conferencing platform Zoom grew his nest egg by over $2.5 billion, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s net worth increased by $15.7 billion.
These kinds of examples might lead you to think that when billionaires profit during a crisis, it’s just a matter of right place, right time. Well, that’s not false, but it’s not entirely true either. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson saw his wealth increase by $5 billion, while Elon Musk saw an increase of $17.2 billion. When you add up the numbers, billionaires in the United States have increased their total net worth $637 billion during the COVID-19 pandemic so far.
At the same time, more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment. With tens of millions of Americans out of a paycheck and the stock market plummeting by 37% in March, how is it that the rich have continued getting richer?
This isn’t the first time billionaires have seen gains while a large portion of Americans were feeling losses. When the housing bubble burst in 2007, home prices fell 21% and roughly 3.1 million homes were foreclosed on in the United States. The stock market plummeted by over 50%. And by the end of 2009, 8.8 million Americans had lost their jobs. And the effects lingered. From 2009 to 2012, the incomes of the bottom 99% grew by only 0.4%, but the income of the top 1% grew by a staggering 31.4% in the same time span. And it all ties back to two things.
First, the government disproportionately gave more aid to banks and corporations. In 2008, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act was signed into law, creating a $700 billion program to purchase devalued assets from banks. This was called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Later, President Obama would direct $75 billion in funds from TARP to help reduce interest payments for homeowners. That means homeowners received around 10% of the direct relief that banks and corporations did.
And this leads to reason No. 2. When the stock market bounced back, the unequal bailouts meant that the wealthy still had money on hand to invest and thus profit, while the middle and lower classes did not. In 2008, the Federal Reserve lowered short-term interest rates to near zero. They would remain that low for nearly a decade. This paved the way for a historic bull market on Wall Street that began in 2009 and lasted until March 2020, when the pandemic hit.
In that time, the S&P 500 gained 462%. That means that a $1,000 investment in the S&P 500 at the low point of the financial crisis could have returned roughly $4,620, while someone who could afford a $1 million investment could have pulled in over $4.6 million.
By 2009, the world’s high-net-worth individuals had grown their share of global wealth by 19% to $39 trillion, recouping nearly all of their losses in a single year. That quick recovery and larger share of the world’s wealth enabled them to continue to make money at an exponential rate. In fact, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains made from 2009 to 2012. And by 2020, the combined wealth of the billionaire class in the United States had increased by over 80%.
Which brings us back to the moment when the coronavirus pandemic rocked the economy. In 2019, the Fed reported that four in 10 Americans didn’t have enough cash in their bank accounts to cover a $400 unexpected expense. And in the first few months of 2020, 40 million Americans found themselves unemployed due to COVID-19. Many small businesses had to close due to lockdowns and social distancing, while others were forced to try to operate with entirely remote staff.
The Small Business Administration made $349 billion available to small businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program. But like in 2008, $243 million of that was snapped up by large, publicly traded corporations, some of which were valued at over $100 million. Even hedge funds submitted claims to try to tap into what they saw as free money.
On March 16, 2020, just five days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the Dow suffered the worst single-day points drop in its history. But by June 4, seven of the world’s richest people had seen their fortunes increase by over 50%. Part of what made this possible was a stock-market rebound fueled both by the Paycheck Protection Program and actions by the Fed. Again, the Fed lowered short-term interest rates for banks to near 0%, and as before, they have promised to hold those rates low until the economy is on track.
This is a cycle that has happened time and time again. During the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, only 2.5% of the $195 million of relief funds went to Haitian companies. Much of the rest was awarded to DC-based construction companies. And when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, real-estate developer Joseph Canizaro said the clearing out caused by Katrina represented some “very big opportunities.” Canizaro was selected as part of a panel to develop the Bring New Orleans Back plan, part of which put a stop on reconstruction of low-income neighborhoods until the residents returned. Of course, residents couldn’t return to their destroyed homes, and many were foreclosed on, paving the way for others to buy those properties and develop them.
When the time did come to rebuild New Orleans, the engineering and construction company KBR received no-bid contracts from the federal government for tens of millions of dollars. KBR received $31 billion in contracts from the government between 2001 and 2010. Vice President Dick Cheney served as CEO of KBR’s parent company, Halliburton, for the five years leading up to his two terms in office.
Combined with their immense investing and purchasing power, billionaires have had government resources in addition to their own resources to profit from during economic upheavals. And wealth-friendly tax laws and loopholes then keep those billionaires at the top. Legal structures such as limited liability companies protect personal assets from being repossessed to pay the debts from business downturns. As it’s set up today, IRS rules allowed Amazon to pay $0 in taxes two years in a row. When its bill finally came due in 2019, it paid just $162 million, a measly 1.2% of the company’s income that year.
And it’s not just Amazon. Taxes paid by billionaires have decreased 79% since 1980. And those are just the legal avenues that the wealthy take to avoid paying taxes. In 2017, researchers estimated that about 10% of the world’s GDP was stashed in offshore tax havens. A study in 2012 found that as much as $32 trillion was being held offshore by the world’s wealthiest people.
So, after reviewing all this, what can be done to help level the playing field? A recent report by the Institute for Policy Studies lays out several action items. It suggests forming a pandemic profiteering oversight committee that would go beyond the oversight of federal stimulus money. It also supports the Corporate Transparency Act, which would create stronger regulations to prevent US billionaires from using shell corporations to hide their income. After the House passed the bill in 2019, it was introduced in the Senate but has not been brought to a vote.
Other suggestions include an emergency 10% millionaire income surtax, a stimulus package aimed at funding charities, instituting a wealth tax, and reducing the amount allowed by the gift and estate tax. Last, and perhaps most importantly, the report underscores the need to shut down the global hidden-wealth economy. The US alone is estimated to lose nearly $200 billion in tax revenues to offshore havens each year. That’s roughly three times the amount of all the money budgeted for the Department of Education in 2021.
Changes like the ideas above are global in scale and require political cooperation to become reality. If the relationship between wealth and income inequality are ever going to change, it’s going to require all of us.’
LeBron James is preparing to join PepsiCo after a long-standing sponsorship with Coca-Cola, sources told Front Office Sports.
James would join a growing team of NBA and WNBA stars pitching the rebranded “MTN DEW”: Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans; Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers; Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets; and A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.
According to sources, James will become the face of Mountain Dew’s upcoming “Rise Energy” line after nearly 18 years as an endorser for Coca-Cola’s Sprite and Powerade brands.
The 36-year old James could also pitch Pepsi’s flagship cola brand, said sources.
The pending deal may also include integration with Blaze Pizza, which currently offers Coca-Cola products at its more than 300 locations. James owns an approximate 10% stake of the chain.
Representatives for PepsiCo declined to comment. A spokesperson for James also declined to comment.
An 18-year-old James first signed with Coca-Cola in 2003 as a No. 1 draft pick. The four-time MVP has since appeared regularly in Sprite and Powerade commercials. In 2014 the beverage giant gave him his own signature drink, “Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James.”
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told Front Office Sports that his deal with the Atlanta-based soda giant expired in September.
“LeBron’s contract came up at a time when both he and The Coca-Cola Company were actively reviewing all of its resources to make sure it was investing in places that ensured long-term growth,” Coca-Cola said. “After many discussions with Lebron and his team, we mutually agreed to part ways.”
PepsiCo’s beverage brands and the NBA have become increasingly entwined.
In 2015, PepsiCo replaced Coca-Cola as the official food and beverage partner of the NBA and WNBA. The blockbuster deal ended Coke’s 28-year partnership with the NBA.
Rather than playing up its eponymous cola, PepsiCo has focused its NBA advertising and activations on citrus-flavored Mountain Dew.
The 2020 All-Star Game’s 3-Point Contest introduced the “DEW Zone” — two attempts from six feet behind the arc, worth three points each. For the third straight year, Mountain Dew also offered fans a branded “Courtside Studio,” with player appearances, music and fashion.
Parent PepsiCo, meanwhile, expanded into caffeinated beverages, buying Rockstar energy drinks for $3.85 billion last March.
James is one of the world’s most popular and successful endorsers, following the path blazed by the likes of Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
He signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015 that could be worth as much as $1 billion over its duration. He’s been one of the brand’s key ambassadors since he entered the league with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s estimated that James will eclipse $1 billion in career earnings before he retires from the NBA; his endorsements, production companies and other sources account for more than half of that figure.
In December, James signed a two-year extension with the Lakers that will push his career NBA earnings past $420 million by the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.
The GameStop frenzy on Wall Street has investors, and much of the internet, enraptured — not unlike a good horror movie. Everyone knows doom is just around the corner for some key players; a lucky few will emerge stronger; and the monster might be subdued but will ultimately come back for a sequel.
The popular Reddit page WallStreetBets is fond of targeting short-sellers. If you’ve ever played craps, these are the guys betting against the table, and their tactics, while often lucrative, have burnished their reputation as bloodsuckers and other, unpublishable, names. (More on that later.)
It’s not hard to understand why someone would short GameStop, however. The company is expected to lose money this year and next. Sales growth is sluggish because gamers no longer need to go to the mall to buy games or consoles. That said, some investors have argued that GameStop was seriously undervalued, especially when video games have become staples of the stay-at-home pandemic era.
The GameStop stock surge began for a legitimate reason: The company announced on January 11 it had added three new directors to its board, including Chewy co-founder Ryan Cohen. Investors liked that Cohen brought digital experience to the table, something the largely brick-and-mortar GameStop desperately needs, as video games go digital and malls continue their unending slump into irrelevance.
GameStop’s stock rose a little less than 13% that day. But this wasn’t a normal, momentary stock surge. Two days later, it rose 57%. Then 27%. The next week, it surged 10% twice and 51% another day. This week, it rose another 18% then 93% and more than doubled today.
The reason is two-fold, both of which are far removed from anything related to the company’s fundamental strength: Investors following the Reddit group bought a ton of GameStop options, and short-sellers had to buy shares to cover their losing bids.
On Wednesday, while all three major stock indexes tumbled, GameStop finished up a mind-boggling 134%.
For perspective: One year ago, a single share cost about $4. It’s now $200.
Options are bets investors place on a stock, allowing them to buy (a “call” option) or sell (a “put” option) at a particular price. That allows people to wager on whether a stock will rise or fall.
Investors can place relatively inexpensive options bets and sell those options as they rise in value when the stock price gets closer to their wager. Although buying and selling options isn’t the same as buying and selling stocks, big options volumes can drive a stock up or down, typically because options traders buy or sell the stock itself as a hedge.
In the case of GameStop and other stocks targeted by WSB, traders keep buying options, forcing the investors selling those options to hedge their bets by buying up GameStop stock.
WallStreetBets, which has more than 2 million followers, is littered with posts cheering the stock gains and no small amount of righteous indignation.
“What I think is happening is that you guys are making such an impact that these fat cats are worried that they have to get up and put in work to earn a living,” a moderator in the group posted this week.”That fuzzy sensation you are feeling is called RESPECT and it is well earned. Wall Street no longer dismisses your presence anymore.”
Elon Musk appeared to join the pile-on Tuesday with a single-word tweet — “Gamestonk!!” — that linked to WallStreetBets. Tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya dipped his toe in the frenzy, buying call options on Tuesday but closing his position Wednesday, he told CNBC. Palihapitiya said he would donate his profits to charity and defended the retail-investing phenomenon playing out on Reddit.
“Instead of having ‘idea dinners’ or quiet whispered conversations amongst hedge funds in the Hamptons, these kids have the courage to do it transparently in a forum,” he said. “What it proves is this retail [investor] phenomenon is here to stay.”
The GameStop saga is a battle of new school vs. old school, amateur vs. professional, rebels vs. the establishment. At the moment, the kids are winning. But, like all bubbles, this one’s going to burst at some point.