Monday's Big Briefing:

🔥🔥 Ana Andjelic is spot on here: "Aspiration is going through an inversion. What was once aspirational – cooking, decorating, cocktail mixing, plants, at home exercise – is now the mandated norm."

Peloton, for one, has benefitted immensely from this new shift | NYT
The Short Shrift.
Reading between the lines: Another strong column from Ana Andjelic who writes about how the aspirational lifestyle has, in just a few weeks, become the new (mandated) norm: "Scroll down your Instagram feed, and influencers’ photos are the same as ours: we are all at home, baking sourdough bread, arranging flowers, and snapping fit pics in rooms and hallways. True, some are nicer than others, but the FOMO is gone. The Great Indoors and Domestic Cozy were aspirational as long as they were a matter of choice. Now they are mandatory and real (and not even of the 'aspirational realness,' but of the 'real realness' quality)."

👉Get smarter: Read the report here...
Lean Luxe Update
We're looking for a designer
Tapping the Lean Luxe network
🔥🔥 We’re kicking off a rebrand and new identity for Lean Luxe.
And we’re looking for partners (studios, up-and-coming designers, etc.) in the Lean Luxe network, either US-based or European, to head this up. We're partial towards folks who display more of a classic, clean, print-influenced eye (Monocle)––less so towards folks steeped in the NYC-DTC design mindset (no Gen-Z stuff, gradients, Matisse cutouts).

Have someone in mind? Please tell us by using this form here. (FYI: If you’re nominating yourself, we need two names of your best competitors too, please).

Thanks everyone,

–– Paul
In Association with: #paid
A Word from our Sponsor
Q2 | May 2020

#paid: Influencers or creators?

May Series | Edition No. 1 / 1.
Here are three ways to tell them apart.
Influencers view their work (mostly) as a way to make money. So they’ll work with anyone, and post anything. But they just end up deleting those posts.

Creators are different. They view work as a craft, so they protect what they post. They take pride in their collaborations, and don’t delete them. Over time, that builds trust and influence with their audience.

#paid only connects you with creators––no influencers.

–– Build your first creator campaign today 👉
Many thanks to #paid today. Their support makes Lean Luxe a better product. Learn more at:
Insights Corner
Monday: Taking Stock
Lucid observations
Grab Bag: Will there even be a summer?
"Frank was in a perpetual state of moral outrage". What Shakespeare actually wrote about the plague. Neymar and others might be staying put. Ryuichi Sakamoto drops a new concert film. Location and work. The shamers are watching. Magnus Carlsen’s digital chess tournaments. Cynar is for all seasons. The case for Pogba wanting to stay. Ikea's step-by-step fort building instructions. Chefs rank the best workhorse hot sauces. a16z values Clubhouse at $100M. Architects’ private homes. Democrats, please don’t do this. For those who need their baseball fix. The agoraphobic traveller. House shoes or nah? A bleak time for Comedy Central. The sandwich to end all sandwiches. And will there be a summer?

Skepticism towards the "generosity economy".
If the sudden explosion in generosity projects from your favorite (and not so favorite) brands has you skeptical, trust us, you're not alone. We'd like to believe that most of it is genuine, but only time will tell there. There's a nice report addressing this dilemma, issuing something of a challenge to brands to make sure that their intentions are genuine. Great thinking here: "Companies are stepping in and championing the generosity economy. . . . Before the coronavirus knocked everything off course, the idea of a brand purpose was the talk of marketing, with purpose being a rallying cry and an expression of differentiators based on deeply held values. After the coronavirus, [that's all changed]. This is where generosity comes in for brands. In this moment, it’s necessary to act rather than advertise. It’s necessary to give selflessly, without doing somersaults to tie it back to your brand tagline or cleverly worded value statement. As the world moves towards reopening, it’s important to maintain an ethos of generosity moving forward." Amen to this.

Michael Williams: "How the hell did Rimowa get so expensive?"
Michael Williams, the founder of OG menswear blog, A Continuous Lean, has started blogging again. The timing of this too, shouldn't be overlooked: Mr. Williams started ACL right at the height of the 2008 recession, so the fact that he's hopped back in the saddle at this particular moment certainly says something. In a recent post, he took aim at Rimowa, whose prices, he's noticed, have become sneaky expensive since the LVMH acquisition: "It’s crazy how expensive Rimowa cases have become. I remember thinking $650 was a lot for one of the carry-on cases––now that case is $1150! Here’s my recommendation for buying Rimowa. Do it in Europe if possible. The prices are better there and you can get the VAT back. I own 4 Rimowa pieces and I bought them all in either Milan or Frankfurt. Even the store in the Lufthansa terminal at Frankfurt airport has better deals than dealers in the U.S. I guess as LVMH took over and Rimowa became a status symbol prices got hiked. Maybe post-pandemic the prices will come down? I’d bet not." He probably speaks for most of us.

The death of prep (exacerbated by Everlane)?
You're starting to hear a wheezing death rattle from two purveyors of prep, J.Crew and Brooks Brothers, and with that the question of whether prep––God forbid––is dying. Lean Luxe is very much prep friendly, so to even entertain that thought brings a shudder. Still, there's a thoughtful piece at The FT (paywalled, but we trust you're smart enough to figure that out) on how prep has basically been replaced by the Everlane look over the last decade. Good observation: "Today, in Washington [D.C.], 'the whole city is wearing Everlane', says Belke. 'That’s the look now––not quite hipster, but certainly more modern than the preppy American sportswear look for five, six years there.' The direct-to-consumer brand’s cashmere crewneck jumpers, wide-leg crops and ballet flats are the new women’s uniform on Capitol Hill. It’s not just its aesthetics that resonate; its values around transparency and sustainability do, too. . . . 'I think there is a backlash against things that are associated with the 1 per cent among younger people, and that kind of classic, Hamptons, Montauk, striped tee, white jeans, cashmere cardigan look which is associated with a kind of income price point.'" Perhaps.

👋Paul Munford, CEO / Editor
The Community
Lean Luxe: Connect
Our invite-only Slack channel
🔥🔥Join the conversation –– get your invite here!
Yes, the Lean Luxe Slack channel is popping right now. Connections are being made, city meetups organized, debates had, investors found, perks offered. This is strictly for our most active subscribers, so if you'd like to be considered, check the eligibility requirements below, and shoot us an email. There's a waitlist, but we do add people in batches every few weeks. For more insight on the channel read this, as well as Hunter Walk's thoughts on our Slack strategy.

–– Ping us here for your invitation (it's already filled out, just hit send)

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The Ticker
Fresh, hot links
Lighter fare
The new speakeasy scene
Drugs, clandestine clubs, and Covid. Air Mail

Modern brands are moving into slippers
All about that comfy game. Glossy

An excellent thread on why Quibi’s not working
Good perspective here from many minds. Divination
Auga de Jamaica
Sounds absolutely delicious right now. Bon Appetít

The elite college disruption
Scott Galloway drops some bold predictions. NY Mag

Jiggy's doing one-off puzzle auctions 
Smart, smart, smart. Jiggy
** News or tips for The Ticker?  
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Send a letter to the editor –– Paul Munford / @leanluxe

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