Discover more from After School by Casey Lewis
School Air and Business Ghouls
let's go to the mall
Marc Jacobs Beauty is coming back; Hailey Bieber announces Rhode x Krispy Kreme glazed donut collaboration; meet Biden’s Gen Z hype man; and I am so sorry for no letter yesterday — I was laid up with a brutal stomach flu (when you’re too out of sorts to scroll TikTok, you know it’s bad).
‘SUBLIMINALS’ HAVE A POWER NO TEEN CAN EXPLAIN, theatlantic
Short YouTube and TikTok videos known as "subliminals" claim to send subliminal messages to viewers' brains to enhance their appearance. These videos promise benefits like flawless makeup and better skin.
In the world of high school, every day is a battle. Recently, one of the most intimidating foes is the air. “School air,” as they call it on social media, is the latest way to explain the universal feeling of not looking your best at school. It smudges your makeup. It gives you awful hair days. It makes you look “dull” and “bad.”
But it might not be so much of a problem if you watch the right videos. Dozens or hundreds of them are on YouTube and TikTok—with titles such as “school air?? what is that?” or “school air just makes me look prettier”—and some have millions of views. Through their sound, these short clips are meant to send subliminal messages to the brain that will somehow make high schoolers look better.
JUUL GOT YOUNG PEOPLE ADDICTED TO NICOTINE—THIS STARTUP WANTS TO HELP THEM QUIT, fastco
The founders of the Gen Z zit sticker Starface have a new smoking-cessation company Blip selling FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies; the gum and lozenges, decked out in the kind of immediately recognizable nostalgic branding the Starface team is known for, are being marketed to a generation hooked on nicotine via candy-flavored Juuls. The team hopes that young people will view Blip not only as medicine but an entry point for community.
Where other NRTs are sold as a tool for when you’ve messed up, Blip’s founders decided their product should be fun—helping to destigmatize talk about addiction and failure. “The form factor isn’t necessarily the issue. It’s the understanding of what the product is and creating a connection to it,” Bordainick says. “We wanted to turn NRTs into a brand whose logo [a user would] rock on a T-shirt, because we believe, ultimately, that’s how problems get solved.”
HOW YOUNG CORPORATE GOTHS BRING ALTERNATIVE STYLE TO THEIR NINE-TO-FIVE JOBS, teenvogue
“It’s about what you bring to the table. It's not about what you’re wearing at the table, says administrative paralegal Zoe McKeown, 22, who describes her style as “‘business ghoul:’ pulling the pieces I have in my closet that are eclectic or weird and then pairing them with traditional business clothing, like suits and pointed-toe heels.”
FORGET JOB-HUNTING SITES. NETWORKERS TURN TO DATING APPS, wsj
If people are using LinkedIn as a dating app, why shouldn’t they use dating apps like LinkedIn?
BEREAL GETS MORE SOCIAL WITH ‘FRIENDS OF FRIENDS’ FEATURE, techcrunch
BeReal — the once-hot spontaneous photo-sharing app — is replacing its Discovery feed with a Friends of Friends feed to enhance connections among close acquaintances, which is actually smart because no one on an app like BeReal wants to see random moments from perfect strangers. I’m doubtful it’s enough to maintain (or reclaim) the hype, but fwiw, BeReal says it’s sitting at around 20 million daily active users.
REPORTS OF THE MALL’S DEATH HAVE BEEN GREATLY EXAGGERATED, morningbrew
Malls are making a comeback as retail sales grew 11% to over $800 billion from 2021 to 2022, with top-tier malls experiencing a 12% increase in foot traffic. The rise is attributed to Gen Z's preference for both in-person and online shopping. A recent survey found that nearly as many Gen Z respondents shopped brick-and-mortar stores (97%) as they did online (95%).
“GOING SHOPPING” IS DEAD, vox
An interesting counterpoint to the previous headline: Retail shopping used to be a pleasurable, social activity; now it’s miserable due to understaffing, inventory issues, and security measures. They are, of course, correct, but I think all is not lost — retail brands like Reformation, with their smart wardrobes, or even Glossier, which feels like a Disneyland for makeup, still have the experiential magic of IRL shopping. The problem is a lot of companies lack the budget or the infrastructure or the motivation to make in-store shopping more enjoyable for the consumer, and it’s going to catch up to them.
One last thought:
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