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Society

How Rihanna Ripped Apart The Bland Victorian Rules Of Maternity Clothing

Barbadian singer and businesswoman Rihanna has proudly celebrated her pregnant belly in fun and revealing clothes. By doing so, she is breaking away from the unspoken rule that pregnant women should hide their baby bumps.

There is a stage in pregnancy where many women have to start thinking about switching out their clothes for maternity wear. Let’s be honest, the choices out there aren’t all too inspiring and women are often expected to give up on their sense of style in favour of comfort. Not singer Rihanna, though, whose refreshing approach to maternity fashion has rocked the world.

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Shein IRL? China's Online Fashion Giant Has A Major Worker Exploitation Problem

In the fast fashion race, Shein, a Chinese retailer, has rapidly risen to compete with the likes of H&M and Zara — and even Amazon. But a deep look inside the company reveals questionable working and sourcing practices.

GUANGZHOU — The wall clock says 1:30 p.m. when the neon lights switch on again above the sewing machines and ironing boards. Between the boxes and the mountain-high piles of clothes, workers emerge from their nap. Small camp beds are hastily put away, phones slide back to the bottom of pockets. It's time to get back to work for the approximately 250 employees of this workshop in Nancun, a village that's been absorbed into the megacity of Guangzhou, in the very south of China.

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Political Fashion In Latin America Leaves White Men In Suits Behind

Politics has always been associated with image. This is especially true in Latin America, where white men in suits have dominated the field for years. But a new generation of women are shaking up politics — as well as how female politicians are expected to dress.

During "The Great Male Renunciation," toward the end of the 18th century, men stopped using refined forms of dressing in order to be taken seriously, leaving conspicuous consumption of clothing and ostentatious dressing to women. It was an attempt by the bourgeoisie to leave behind all the decadent vanity of the overthrown aristocracy.

Men flaunted their power through the clothing their female counterparts wore, though they themselves could not aspire to that same power. Men could no longer dress extravagantly and had to moderate their "feminine impetus", unless they wanted to be considered weak and frivolous. That is why many women at that time who wanted to succeed in “men's” professions had to dress in a masculine way (like French novelist George Sand), with some going as far as pretending to be men.

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What's That Smell? The Perfume Industry's Upcycling Savoir Faire

The circular economy is a hot trend, being embraced by everything from fashion to home decor. But one industry has been upcycling for decades. And the benefits and potentials go far beyond the environment. Soon, your perfume might help you fight stress and even wrinkles.

What do orange peels, a Texas-based sawmill and rosewater have in common?

Well, all three are part of the upcycling system developed by the perfume industry. This version of recycling, which transforms a waste product by adding value to it, is well known in fashion and home decor. But perfumery has been using the technique for generations, and not just for environmental reasons.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Pandora Papers, Japan’s New PM, Spicy Medicine Nobel

👋 Bom dia!*

Welcome to Monday, where the financial secrets of the rich and powerful are exposed in a massive data leak, the two Koreas get on the phone for the first time in months, Japan has a new prime minister and there's a spicy Nobel prize winner for medicine. For Paris-based daily Les Echos, we have Anna Rousseau reporting on how fashion-famous France is finally starting to catch up with the plus-size market.

[*Portuguese]

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Society
Anna Rousseau

The XXL Saga Of French Fashion And Inclusive Sizing

Clothing companies in France have a habit of simply ignoring larger-sized women. But led by a new generation of designers, some of them inspired by first-hand frustrations, the sector is finally showing signs of change.

PARIS — Leslie Barbara Butch offered quite an eyeful when she appeared, in February 2020, on the cover of the French culture and television magazine weekly Télérama wearing nothing but a dash of crimson lipstick.

The image is all the more striking because of how the DJ and feminist activist directs her gaze — purposely away from the reader — thus giving people free rein to study her ample curves and countours as much as they want.

"My body is big," says Butch. "I accept it, I show it."

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Society
Carlo Pizzati

Aging Influencers, Chinese Grandmas Are Social Media Hit

Old age is trending in China for reasons of culture, technology and demographics.

BEIJING — Imagine a 70-year-old Chinese version of Chiara Ferragni. Now multiply these "senior" Asian influencers by a dozen and you will have a snapshot of the new phenomenon that has hit social media in China. The aging divas are the stars of the feed dedicated to "Fashion Grandmothers" on the Chinese social network Douyin, the national version of TikTok.

They call themselves "fashion_grannies' or "Glamma Beijing," playing on the Chinese pronunciation of the English words grandma and glamor. And they are quite something to see, wrapped up in traditional damask cheongsam, buttoned all the way up their neck or hopping in casual clothes of the latest fashion brands.

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Spain
Alexis Rodríguez-Rata

Long Live Leggings! Deconstructing Pandemic Fashion

The pandemic has caused an overall drop in clothing sales. But is it also changing how we dress? External shocks have had an impact on fashion trends throughout history.

BARCELONA — Bell bottoms were worn in the 1960s and 1970s. Then they disappeared. They returned in the early 2000s, then disappeared again. And now they're back again, suddenly popular among teenagers. Does all fashion just go around in circles? Not always, and especially not right now, say experts.

That's because the coronavirus pandemic is turning the clothing sector upside down — in the short, medium and long term. There is talk of crashing sales and a fundamental break in dress codes. And in the midst of it all, there are a whole lot of leggings.

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Germany
Silvia Ihring

How The Pandemic Pushed Up Prices On Some Luxury Goods

Rather than offer discounts, high-end brands like Chanel are asking even more for their products. Silvia Ihring, style editor-at-large for  German daily Die Welt, explains why.

BERLIN — Now should be the ideal time for bargain hunters. Many clothes shops and online retailers have dropped the prices of designer items by up to 70% in a bid to shift stock that's been clogging up their warehouses throughout the coronavirus pandemic. But a few designer brands are resisting the urge to slash prices, and some are even going so far as to raise them.

Take Chanel as an example. In May, the French fashion house told Reuters that to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it planned to increase the price of selected bags by between 5% and 17%. The news agency also revealed that Louis Vuitton bags were more expensive in May than they had been the previous October. The Neverfull MM Monogram bag, currently sells for around $1,500, up from $1,320 in October.

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Society
Carine Bizet

How Instagram Is Reviving Fashion-House History

Amateur fashion aficionados are using new technology to celebrate the pre-internet past, and forcing labels to reconsider their archives.

PARIS — In a narrow, labyrinthine room, gold chairs are lined up against the walls. The top model Amber Valletta struts catlike along the runway, wearing a truly marvelous creation: a Chanel haute couture coat with embellishments by Lesage, designed by Karl Lagerfeld and inspired by Gabrielle Chanel's collection of lacquered wooden screens from Coromandel.

The year is 1996, and the event features one of the most beautiful collections the legendary German designer ever produced, though of course there were no smartphones around back then to immortalize it. And yet, here it is, the moment captured in all its glory — on Instagram.

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food / travel
Bertrand Hauger

Not Sure About That Romanian Style

For a moment, the streets of Sibiu turned into a fashion show — and that woman didn't seem too convinced by the man's dress sense ... Was it the traditional căciulă sheepskin hat, or something else?

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