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The Purge: Ivanka Trump Edition

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The Ivanka Trump Purge Surge

According to the clothing resale site ThredUp, Ivanka Trump’s clothing brand saw the seventh-largest increase in the rate at which people were unloading it during 2016. The number of people discarding Ivanka Trump product through ThredUp’s system rose 223 percent relative to the non-election year before.

The Ivanka Trump “purge surge,” as ThredUp aptly named it, most likely has to do with the increasing number of anti-Trump consumers rejecting the first daughter’s clothing line by refusing to buy it or no longer wearing what they owned before the election. It makes sense that people who want to sever ties with her apparel and shoes would just get rid of it altogether.

This is notable because aside from Nordstrom dropping the Ivanka Trump brand on the grounds that sales had declined, most of what we’ve heard about the label lately is that it’s actually selling pretty well. Ivanka Trump’s perfume reached No. 1 on Amazon’s top-selling women’s fragrances list in February, and the clothing line rose from No. 550 to No. 11 on Lyst’s ranking of its most-ordered brands between January and February.

Tl;dr, some people are definitely buying Ivanka Trump stuff, possibly as a way of voicing their support for the Trump administration. But plenty are evacuating it from their closets, too. Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

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Features
Thinx Promised a Feminist Utopia to Everyone But Its Employees
Thinx underwear.

Story by Hilary George-Parkin

Last February, long before she stepped down as CEO of Thinx, the period underwear company she co-founded, Miki Agrawal published an open letter on Medium asking women in media “to Respectfully Quit Telling Me How to ‘Do Feminism’ (and just support one another, please!)” Without naming names, the post alluded to the online backlash that ensued after Agrawal told an interviewer from The Cut that she didn’t relate to being a feminist until she started her company because “[e]very time I thought about the word feminist, I thought about an angry, ranty… girl” and distanced Thinx’s “accessible” feminism from that of “those spoken-word poets.”

In the Medium post, Agrawal pushed back against accusations that she was co-opting the term as a marketing ploy:

“The notion of feminism as a part of THINX was an organic realization  —  a perfect fit  —  because it’s what we exist to do,” she wrote. “Each and every word and image used in our communications and our campaigns is thought up and created by our team of young badass feminists (all of whom also have their own interpretations of the term). Integrating feminism into our marketing is not a ploy, and it is not exploitative; it’s reclamation of how brands treat and speak to women, and it’s an ideological pushback against generations of condescension and insulting marketing towards women. Plus, there’s nothing more refreshing than a nice, pink grapefruit.”

The latter sentence, as any New York City subway rider (or menstruating human with well-targeted Facebook ads) can tell you, is in reference to the company’s first provocative — and incredibly effective — ad campaign, which made headlines in late 2015 when it was nearly banned by the transit authority’s advertising partner for “inappropriate” content — an ad campaign conceived of and created by a team of young, in-house creatives with no advertising experience rather than an agency commanding six figures for the project. Since then, Thinx has become known as much for its feminist values and chatty, millennial-friendly voice as for its products, which have expanded from ultra-absorbent, moisture-wicking underwear to dancer-friendly, period-proof bodysuits and now organic tampons and reusable applicators.

Agrawal, too, has developed a loyal following, especially among young, socially-conscious, entrepreneurial women, and has carefully crafted her own image as a taboo-busting evangelist for women’s rights and the reigning queen of feminine hygiene. She was, as the company’s origin story goes, first inspired to donate a portion of Thinx’s proceeds to support women’s organizations in the developing world when she learned that millions of girls there miss school because of lack of access to menstrual supplies and the shame associated with periods.

Suffice it to say, the company’s mission is an easy one to get behind, especially at a time when misogyny is openly wielded by those in the highest positions of power, and pink pussyhats and earnest Instagrams of Gloria Steinem quotes have become property of the mainstream.

But behind the scenes, many current and former employees paint a picture of dysfunction and hypocrisy, with clashes between Agrawal and key members of her team, employment policies that seem to fly in the face of the company’s women-first messaging, and an increasingly volatile work environment that’s led many of those who were instrumental in creating the brand to tender their resignations. According to several sources, ten people have left the 35-person company since January, and last Thursday, Agrawal announced to the staff that she is stepping down from her role as CEO of Thinx and Icon, the “pee-proof underwear” company she also co-founded — though, she clarified in the all-hands meeting, she will still be the “SHE-E-O” (the irreverent title she employs in most external communication) and face of the brands. Meanwhile, the board of directors is actively looking for a “professional CEO” to fill the role.

Keep reading >>
Just One Thing
The Bag That Comfortably Fits a Paperback
Insert alt text here

Le Bas Shoulder Bag, $375

I first spotted Le Bas’ small shoulder bag when window-shopping at the Buenos Aires boutique Panorama. I fell in love. Small, structured, minimal, elegant, and modern, not to mention handcrafted with gorgeous Argentine leather, it was everything I wanted in a bag. But the price tag scared me off; I already had a sturdy leather purse and couldn’t justify investing in a second.

Flash forward a few months later, and my leather purse was stolen at a bar. I took it as divine intervention and forked over the cash for the Le Bas bag. A year and a half later, I am still in love.

The purse proved to be just as functional as it is beautiful. It looks small but is deep enough to fit a fat paperback. I can carry Hanya Yanagihara’s 800-page A Little Life and a Moleskine in it and still have room for my keys, phone, money pouch, and a tube of lipstick. Part of that can be attributed to the bag’s thoughtful design, which incorporates four individual compartments without interrupting the minimal look.

But keep in mind this is not a carry-all tote, though I would consider that a plus: I don’t end up turning myself into a pack mule every time I take it out. 

Despite the fact that I have just waxed rhapsodic about a purse, let me clarify that I am not a bag person. I detest the very idea of having a “wardrobe” of purses. I want to have one bag that goes with everything, and I will wear that bag until it is literally falling off my body. This Le Bas purse is that bag, and unlike my many cheap shoulder bags of the past, it has stood up to all my manhandling with aplomb. I’ve smooshed it into suitcases, taken it to grubby bars, exposed it to the elements — someone even spilled coffee on it, and it still looks good as new.

And fortunately, you don’t need to go all the way to Argentina to buy it. Le Bas’ leather goods are available online and in select shops around the world. My preferred color chestnut is sold out online, but there’s an array of gorgeous neutrals to choose from. —Emily Jensen, contributing writer

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