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Velebs Take Off; Balenciaga gets LIPO-Suction

Virtual celebrities, Balenciaga’s latest accessory drop, and full-on “gear dad.”
August 17, 2022

Babies and Their Lives of Excess. One skeptical expecting father goes all-in on new baby gear and becomes a full-on “gear dad.”

Our Take: Ingrid Milman-Cordy explained on the podcast last year that parenthood changes your consumption habits: “I have binged hours of YouTuber content on like baby must haves and things that they like regret buying, things that you should splurge on, things that you shouldn't splurge on. It is a wide and deep world of content that, quite frankly, has built my entire baby registry. I'm so commercially motivated by videos; I am the person that is hiring the YouTubers [to guide me].”

Just Grift It. Allbirds announced “Ann Freeman” (neé Hebert) has been appointed to the company’s Board of Directors. This is the same Nike executive who stepped down in 2021 after her son was found to be running a sneaker resale ring. Maybe rebrand to Allberts?

More Sights & Sounds. Serena Williams announced plans to leave tennis in order to turn her focus toward venture capitalism. SoulCycle is closing 19 of its studios, which the company said would lead to layoffs as well. Walmart+ will move into streaming after a deal was made with Paramount+. This Glossy piece dives into the branding world of Vacation Inc., whose aim was to make sunscreen fun again. When you really want revenge on your ex, a full-page media ad should do the trick. And Kraft Heinz has recalled over 5,700 cases of Wild Cherry flavored Capri Suns, citing accidental contamination with cleaning solution. Terrible timing for Back to School lunches.

Image: Lil Miquela Virtual Influencer - PacSun

Unreal Spokeswoman. Pacsun’s newest spokesperson is “the queen of the metaverse,” a virtual influencer, named Miquela. The online-only robot with the persona of a young LA native has been gaining followers online since 2016, and currently has 3 million followers on Instagram.

Our Take: We first wrote about Velebs (virtual celebs) in 2020 following Riot Games’ virtual influencer launch with Seraphine. In that piece we wrote: “Virtual celebs - "velebs?" - don't harm stocks, they don't go on benders, and they don't get Me-Too'ed. Or so you'd think. Riot has recently come under criticism for using October 10th, World Mental Health Day, to depict Seraphine as battling with anxiety and low self-confidence.”
Virtual celebrities don’t indemnify or empower brands to be anymore creative or inspiring than they already are; and without being meanspirited, this strategy is only as successful as PacSun’s ability to make it interesting, something that we’re not sure they have the ability to maintain.

LIPO-Suction. “Luxury in Price Only” is a concept we wrote about in The Senses three weeks ago. While high fashion is known for wild looks and things that dabble in the absurd, Balenciaga’s latest accessory drop is literally a pair of earrings that look suspiciously like shoelaces tied in a bow. We love the oddness of it, but the issue is the price tag — $261. LIPO. And that sucks.

Even More Whole Foods. John Mackey, one of the founders of Whole Foods Market is branching out into the health food world again, with plans to launch a restaurant chain that is plant-based and focused on holistic wellness.

DAOs go IRL. Small businesses are raising bonds on a web2 platform. This is an Arepa restaurant in Washington DC.

Image: The Bear on Hulu

Yes, Chef. Our own Brian Lange says: “The Bear is the show of the year, no question.” GQ reports that while The Bear may seem like a series about food and working in a high-stress restaurant kitchen, it actually more of a study in perfectly dialed-in men’s style. What are the odds we’ll be seeing some junior-sized Carmy’s out trick-or-treating in October?

The Sacraments of Roblox. Phillip made a prediction on Twitter a while back that the more the church follows culture, the more out of place it looks— may we present to you: Roblox Church. A newer, weirder way to “get one’s praise on.”

Cover Photo by José Jóvena on Unsplash

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