The Sudden, Uncomfy Fall of The Biggest Pandemic Fashion Trend

Last year, many people got many things wrong about how the pandemic might change our lives. No, cities did not die; yes, people still blow out birthday candles and risk spreading their germs. But few 2020 forecasts missed their mark so spectacularly as the oft-repeated claim that, as the world reopened, we’d return to it in sweatpants.

If any single event crystallizes this misfire, it’s last month’s announcement that the direct-to-consumer loungewear brand Entireworld was going out of business. The company had been a breakout darling of 2020, its cheerfully hued cotton basics poised at the fortuitous intersection of “cute enough for Zoom” and “cozy enough to work, sleep, and recreate from bed in, for the bulk of a calendar year”. News outlets, meanwhile, pointed to Entireworld’s astonishing 662% increase in sales last March not as a right-place, right-time one-off, but an indication of our collective sartorial destiny.

The sweatpant has supplanted the blue jean in the pants-wearing American imagination,” declared GQ last April. The New York Times Magazine followed suit a few months later with an Entireworld name-check in its August 2020 cover story, headlined “Sweatpants Forever”.

But it wasn’t to be. Instead, as 2021 brought forth the world’s reopening, I noticed a style sensibility that seemed to defy last year’s housebound pragmatism. From Instagram to the streets of my New York City neighborhood, the people were turning looks. Kooky looks, to be precise, from platform Crocs to strong-shouldered silhouettes.

My online window shopping exploits turned up scores of sundry garments, across brands, all in the same exuberant hue of 90s DayGlo green. From sensible underpants to faux fur–trimmed tops, I subconsciously catalogued the color labels assigned to each (“celery”, “gross green”, “slime”).

This new, psychedelic palette seemed like a spiritual departure from Trump-era minimalism and its many shades of beige. Less dutiful, more winking.

Sweatpants seem destined for a mere supporting role. Jessica Richards, a trend forecasting consultant based in New York City, agrees that the pandemic has changed the way we dress. “It’s actually for the better,” she says – and in more ways than one.

It’s no coincidence that the styles of the Great Re-entry reflect a certain giddiness, says Dr Jaehee Jung, a University of Delaware fashion studies professor who researches the psychology of fashion and consumer behavior. “The fact that there are more opportunities to present ourselves to others makes us excited about the clothes we wear,” Jung tells me.

“I’m definitely seeing people taking more risks, in terms of color choices, prints and patterns, even shapes and silhouettes that they wouldn’t have worn before,” says Sydney Mintle, a fashion industry publicist in Seattle. “People are like, ‘life is short, wear yellow.’”

Tamar Miller, CEO of the women’s luxury footwear brand Bells & Becks, has seen this fashion risk-taking impulse first-hand in her company’s recent sales. “My absolute, number-one, kind of off-the-charts shoe is one I did not expect,” she says.

That shoe, per Miller’s description, is a pointed-toe loafer in black-and-white snakeskin leather, topped by a prominent decorative tab with hardware detailing. It’s a bold choice, and one that affirms the demographic breadth of the desire to make a statement. Miller’s target customers are not members of Gen Z, but rather their parents and grandparents.

Secondhand clothing – and its promise of luxe-for-less – has also found its time to shine.

2020 was a banner year for the online resale market. Digital consignment platforms like Depop, ThredUp, and Poshmark swelled with the sartorial discards of an estimated 52.6 million people in 2020, 36.2 million of whom were selling for the first time, according to a survey by ThredUp. A majority of millennial and Gen Z consumers indicated that they plan to spend more on secondhand apparel in the next five years than in any other retail category, a sentiment expressed by 42% of consumers overall.

It’s a phenomenon that may also be contributing to the moment’s ethos of mix-and-match experimentation. “Gone are the days of sleek, edited ‘capsule wardrobes’, and in their place are drawers overstuffed with vintage treasures sourced from Poshmark or Depop,” writes Isabel Slone in a recent Harper’s Bazaar article headlined “How Gen Z Killed Basic Black”.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that fast fashion is on its way out. (“Some of those brands are doing big business, and the numbers don’t lie,” Mintle sighs.) But the boom reflects, and may have helped accelerate, a growing departure from trend-chasing and disposable, low-cost wares. You might even say that reflexive participation in fads is so 2019 – not least because the US is struggling with supply chain bottlenecks as we enter the holiday season.

But our Roaring Twenties may be on the horizon. For 2022, Richards anticipates sparkle, novelty, “shoes that go ‘clunk’” and “really maximalist styling”. She didn’t mention sweatpants.

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Source: The sudden, uncomfy fall of the biggest pandemic fashion trend | Fashion | The Guardian

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Reddit Cracks Down On Forums Trading Images Of Female Vinted And Depop Users

Reddit has shut down forums with thousands of users sharing and selling photos of female members of clothing resale apps like Vinted and Depop.  

Vinted and Depop have become a viral sensation with Generation Z shoppers looking to thrift second-hand clothing from the comfort of the sofa. The apps have also become a hunting ground for men who trade and sell photographs of young women modeling bikinis, bodysuits and other clothing for sale. 

Reddit banned r/NSFW_Vinted and r/vinted_sluts, communities with nearly a thousand members earlier this week after being contacted by Forbes. The social news aggregator, dubbed the “front page of the internet” has shut down two similar subforums sharing images of Depop users, and another Vinted forum in recent months. Despite this crackdown, the site still features several subreddits, some inactive, promoting images taken from Depop and eBay sellers. 

One of the subreddit moderators had compiled download bundles of hundreds of stolen images of female users from Germany, the Czech Republic, and beyond, offering to sell them “for the price of a coffee” on file download site Ejunkie. The download pages have since been taken offline.  

Bryony like many Vinted users started to use the app during the U.K’s Covid lockdowns to clear out her wardrobe of old and unwanted clothing. The 25-year-old from Essex, England, who asked for her full name not to be used, was unaware that a photograph taken to help sell a PrettyLittleThing bodysuit was being traded on the now banned subreddit r/NSFW_Vinted. 

“I’m obviously disgusted that my photos have been taken from this platform and distributed elsewhere without my permission and I find it quite sickening to be honest with you,” says Bryony, who had also received inappropriate messages from users asking to model clothing she was trying to sell on the app.  

“Multiple times I have had inappropriate messages asking for more pictures of me wearing the items I am selling…at first I thought nothing of it and then I clicked it was a little bit weird,” she says. 

Bryony is not the only female seller on clothing apps like Vinted and Depop to have received inappropriate or disturbing messages from men seeking to solicit photos, or used clothing. The BBC and Cosmopolitan reported in January about the problem of young women, and teenagers, being targeted on the apps and other marketplaces like eBay, while Depop users themselves have turned to Reddit to share scores and scores of disturbing direct messages. 

“These creepy messages take total advantage of the nature of sites like Depop and Vinted, which women have used to boost their income during the pandemic,” says Hannah Hart, privacy expert at ProPrivacy. “These downright disturbing incidents further highlight the fact that women face harassment and abuse simply for daring to be visibly female, regardless of which sites they frequent and whether they’ve been intended as social platforms.”

While these user-driven marketplaces are also home to some people who are in the business of selling images of themselves or used clothing to cater to fetishes often in contravention of the terms of services of these apps none of the women contacted by Forbes had intended, or were, aware that their images were being shared.  

Vinted says it takes a tough line on inappropriate messaging and bans users it suspects of breaching its policies. “We also recommend our users to refrain from sharing pictures of them wearing the items if this is asked to them in private conversation and to report the user who asked them that,” a spokesperson for Vinted said in a statement to Forbes

The Vilnius, Lithuania-based app says it tries to stop photos from being take off its platform but had limited control over users’ screenshotting images. “In such cases, we strongly advise our members to report this directly to the respective websites to inform them that imagery is being published without any usage rights and ask for these pictures to be taken down by the said website,” says Vinted’s spokesperson.  

Depop has in the past year pushed Reddit to take down content according to messages sent from the London-based app’s support team to affected sellers. “We take a zero tolerance approach towards predatory or abusive behavior of any kind on Depop. The safety of our community is our number one priority, which is why we have robust policies and advanced technology in place to keep everyone protected,” says Fabian Koenig, VP of trust and safety at Depop. 

Thrifting was once consigned to Goodwill, charity shops, and a corner of eBay but a new generation with small budgets and a passion for sustainability have thrust it into the fashion mainstream and turned secondhand clothing apps into a big business. American online craft marketplace Etsy swooped to buy British clothing app Depop, which has a cult teenage following, for $1.6 billion in June while Vinted raised $300 million in a fundraise that valued the app at over $4.2 billion in May.  

Reddit said it had a blanket ban on the sharing of non-consensual intimate or sexually explicit images, or video, and as such had banned the subreddits involved. The site’s policy of largely relying on users to self-police has repeatedly been tested in recent years with staff stepping in to ban controversial subforums like r/donaldtrump, anti-vaccine, and far-right forums only after facing a prolonged public backlash. Reddit has raised close to $950 million from investors since the start of the year largely to build out its team and advertising proposition. Send me a secure tipIain Martin

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Iain Martin

 Iain Martin

I joined Forbes as the Europe News Editor and will be working with the London newsroom to define our coverage of emerging businesses and leaders across the UK and Europe. Prior to joining Forbes, I worked for the news agency Storyful as its Asia Editor working from its Hong Kong bureau, and as a Senior Editor in London, where I reported on breaking news stories from around the world, with a special focus on how misinformation and disinformation spreads on social media platforms. I started my career in London as a financial journalist with Citywire and my work has appeared in the BBC, Sunday Times, and many more UK publications. Email me story ideas, or tips, to iain.martin@forbes.com, or Twitter @_iainmartin.

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2 Specialty Retail Stocks To Add To Your Shopping List

2 Specialty Retail Stocks to Add to Your Shopping List

Let’s face it – retail is one of the most competitive industries out there. Consumer preferences are constantly changing and it takes a lot for these types of businesses to earn shoppers’ hard-earned cash. That’s one of the reasons why investing in specialty retail stocks can be a great long-term strategy if you choose wisely. Since specialty retailers focus on specific product categories, like office supplies, furniture, or men’s or women’s clothing, they are oftentimes able to carve out a unique niche and stand out among their competitors.

Thanks to all of the stimulus that has been added to the economy over the last year and the fact that a newly vaccinated population is getting back to shopping in person, we could see some strong sales coming out of the specialty retail space in the coming months. There are 2 specialty retail stocks that stand out as potential buys at this time given their unique brands and impressive earnings reports. Let’s take a further look at these intriguing stocks below.

RH (NYSE:RH)

RH, formerly known as Restoration Hardware, is a great specialty retail stock because it is doing something that is completely unique. While there are plenty of home furnishings stores out there, RH is distinctive in that it specializes in ultra-high-end luxury home goods and creating a unique shopping experience at every single store. Homeowners can find upscale products including furniture, lighting, bathware, outdoor & garden, tableware textiles, and décor at RH, and each one of the company’s showrooms offers an original and aesthetically pleasing experience.

The company counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway among its investors and is undoubtedly benefitting from a hot residential real estate market. With that said, RH has upside potential regardless of what’s going on in the economy, as the company doesn’t have exposure to seasonal inventory and caters to wealthy consumers that spend big year-round. The stock has been pulling back in recent months after a rally from $70 to $700 a share, but after the company’s latest earnings report it could be gearing up for more gains.

RH saw its Q1 revenues up 78% year-over-year to $860.8 million and delivered Q1 adjusted diluted earnings per share increase by 285% year-over-year to $4.89 per share. Other positives from the stellar report included an increased fiscal 2021 outlook and the fact that the company expects to be net debt-free by the end of the fiscal year. The bottom line here is that RH is a specialty retail company that is executing at a very high level, which is evident in both the earnings results and stock price.

Lovesac (NASDAQ:LOVE)

There’s a lot to love about this specialty retailer, which designs and manufactures modular couches and beanbags. What really stands out about Lovesac is how it has created a brand and product lines that have quickly become the favorite furniture of an entire generation. Millennials are among Lovesac’s most frequent customers, as they love the idea of the company’s flagship product, a unique modular furniture piece known as a “sactional”.

These are couches that are easily assembled and disassembled in order to meet the needs of the consumer. There are literally dozens of different ways that sactionals can be rearranged to fit in someone’s home, and the fact that customers can continue adding on pieces and accessories over time is perfect for creating repeat buyers.

While the company has 91 retail showrooms across the United States, investors should be impressed with the progress that it has made over the last year developing its digital sales channels. E-commerce sales were up over 250% in 2020 and although the company might not be able to keep up that torrid pace, Lovesac has proved it is more than capable of finding buyers online. Also, keep in mind that those showrooms are going to see foot traffic pick up as the pandemic winds down.

Lovesac just reported very strong Q1 2022 earnings results including net sales growth of 52.5% and diluted EPS of $0.13, up 122.1% year-over-year. Analysts also love the stock, as Lovesac recently got a price target increase from Craig Hallum on Thursday. Pandemic tailwinds are continuing to help this specialty retailer grow, and that narrative should remain in place for the foreseeable future. These are all great reasons why Lovesac is a great stock to consider adding to your shopping list.

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Source: 2 Specialty Retail Stocks to Add to Your Shopping List

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Critics:

A stock derivative is any financial instrument for which the underlying asset is the price of an equity. Futures and options are the main types of derivatives on stocks. The underlying security may be a stock index or an individual firm’s stock, e.g. single-stock futures.

Stock futures are contracts where the buyer is long, i.e., takes on the obligation to buy on the contract maturity date, and the seller is short, i.e., takes on the obligation to sell. Stock index futures are generally delivered by cash settlement.

A stock option is a class of option. Specifically, a call option is the right (not obligation) to buy stock in the future at a fixed price and a put option is the right (not obligation) to sell stock in the future at a fixed price. Thus, the value of a stock option changes in reaction to the underlying stock of which it is a derivative. The most popular method of valuing stock options is the Black–Scholes model. Apart from call options granted to employees, most stock options are transferable.

Stock price fluctuations

The price of a stock fluctuates fundamentally due to the theory of supply and demand. Like all commodities in the market, the price of a stock is sensitive to demand. However, there are many factors that influence the demand for a particular stock. The fields of fundamental analysis and technical analysis attempt to understand market conditions that lead to price changes, or even predict future price levels.

A recent study shows that customer satisfaction, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), is significantly correlated to the market value of a stock.Stock price may be influenced by analysts’ business forecast for the company and outlooks for the company’s general market segment. Stocks can also fluctuate greatly due to pump and dump scams.

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Is Digitization The Savior Of The Fashion Industry?

Digital Fashion

Digital transformation of fashion design and manufacturing is viewed as both an opportunity and a threat, depending on who you ask. The perceived threats include job security, creativity, and loss of the “human touch” in fashion design and garment-making. The opportunities span time and cost savings, vast and swift sustainability gains (including removing textile waste and reducing the need for dyeing, water use and the carbon emissions generated by physical sampling) and the ability to manufacture small quantities of products profitably.

Other creative industries, such as gaming and film, have adopted digital tools and subsequently platforms that link design, the beating heart of all the products created for human consumption, with every other person and process necessary to bring that design to life (whether that be on a screen or in physical form). It follows that these industries have therefore provided a blueprint for the digitization of fashion—or have they?

To put this debate into the current context, the sustainability pressures facing the fashion industry point to digital transformation being necessary, rather than optional. The rising cost of raw materials as the planet’s resources dwindle, the carbon and financial costs of manual garment sampling and shipping back and forth from manufacturers in Asia to Europe and the U.S., and the switch from two seasons per year to monthly (or weekly) product launches to keep up with social media trends, mean that the only way to meet global consumer demand is to digitize and streamline manual processes. Indeed, the question seems to be how can the industry progress in a manner that is sustainable, ethical and profitable without digitalization?

To draw parallels and find out what fashion can learn from the gaming and film industries, I spoke to Remo Gettini, a serial innovator who is ex-Dreamworks, and DWA NOVA, and now the CTO of the human-centric app-based community of 16 million buyers and sellers of fashion, Depop. What is holding fashion back? Why has digital transformation been so slow? What steps should the industry take to transform expensive, slow, manual, unethical, unfair and unsustainable practices into processes fit for today’s consumers, who want a paradox of constant newness (often personalized) within the planetary bounds?

As CTO at DWA NOVA, Gettini worked with brands ranging from Tommy Hilfiger to Nike and Burberry to navigate the digital landscape and define and implement digital solutions for product design, development and merchandising. “The fashion industry has the opportunity to increase its creativity way beyond what it can currently imagine,” says Gettini. What it lacks is access to human-centric technologies fit for the creative nuances and ephemerality of fashion design. “How do you express the value of a Burberry scarf in a 3D render?” asked Gettini. This is a tough question and one that is being asked by fashion brands, too.

Why has 3D digital design fallen so far short for fashion, I asked? The answer, according to Gettini, having spent decades orchestrating digital transformation as a solutions architect, technical director, and CTO, is that digital design has been borne out of engineering and is based on CAD/CAM solutions, which are “not creative or intuitive in a way that empowers designers.” His view is that the solutions on the market right now, CLO3D (one of the newest CAD solutions for fashion) included, are driven by technical specifications that still do not bridge the gap between creative design and product creation.

The width of this gap is astonishing if you think about the current turnover of styles and speed of fashion, paired with dwindling order volumes as e-commerce has ushered in a shorter shelf-life for styles that are driven by fleeting Instagram trends. This is a phenomenon Depop knows only too well as they provide a seamless platform that integrates social-media trends, e-commerce, and online communities.

The second barrier, he believes, is that solutions providers approach fashion like it was any other industry. They present the same tools to fashion as they do to automotive, aerospace and architecture. “This just won’t work with fashion,” he says. “Fashion needs a platform that plugs creative design into the supply chain painlessly and without designers having to change the way they work. This is fundamental. Designers should not be asked to drop their manual design and illustration techniques in favor of a mouse and keyboard.” To Gettini’s mind, this is where digital transformation “falls at the first hurdle.” So what is the solution?

Reflecting on the strategy of digital transformation at Dreamworks, he explained that they gave designers a tablet and pen so that whatever they drew was digitized—the action was the same, but the options for color, texture, and effects were greater. They expanded the designers’ toolkit, rather than changing it. This unleashed their creativity and the rest of the digital solutions were built around translating these digital sketches into products that could be manufactured via CAD/CAM solutions, seamlessly.

He stressed throughout our conversation that the technology “needs to disappear” and leave only the impression that the work is easier, better and more creative. “Human-centricity is the key to digital success.” In fact, at Depop, the users never talk about the app. They talk about “the experience, the friends they make, the communities they join, the clothes they buy—never the technology,” says Gettini.

What else would Gettini do to fast-track digital transformation in fashion? From a C-level perspective, he would hire new talent graduating from fashion colleges with 3D design skills and an appetite for creative digital design in place of traditional methods of fashion design. He would place these new recruits with the current crop of designers and task them with developing the next collections collaboratively, to leverage both approaches. Fundamental here is the integration of digital design in the actual design and development of products, rather than as an isolated “project.” “

There is no point running a separate pilot to dip your toe in—digital-native designers need to be introduced into the process as part of the business, not as an experiment,” he says. This triggers memories of views shared with me by digital designers working in siloed departments at global brands, who express frustration that digital solutions are adopted within their departments, but do not influence or integrate with other departments, or the supply chain. The very “project” approach that Gettini warns against is a common approach, it seems.

So what does the digitization of fashion design mean for the future of Depop? Depop currently has 16 million buyers and sellers of fashion on its app (the tip of the iceberg, according to Gettini), and in all likelihood, they have the next generation of fashion designers on their platform, too. What would happen if the Depop community could create and share digital fashion designs for crowd-vetting, that are connected to digital manufacturing facilities allowing production on demand, to the quantity determined by the seller (and demanded by the Depop community)—a kind of “Unity for fashion,” as Gettini calls it? This is something that Depop is currently looking into as a possible evolution of their fashion platform. This example further illustrates how 3D digital design has the power to provide fashion-on-demand in a more sustainable manner than the current model of overproduction and inevitable deadstock creation.

During a recent conversation with Kees Jacobs, head of insights and data, global sector consumer products and retail at consultancy firm Capgemini, he explained that in the past decade, digital fashion solutions have been prioritized in consumer-facing domains (website, mobile, in-store experiences) where tech solutions can increase customer engagement and facilitate customer services. On the subject of 3D digital design adoption, his experience has demonstrated that “the urgency to do this is less. The top line (for digital solutions) is retail.”

He went on to state that “we see a big shift happening with digital twins of consumer and products and where the two meet.” Regarding the top two investments fashion retailers should make that promise good ROI, the first was data analytics solutions, and the second area was “consumer engagement and the digital avatar (to allow) the use of CGI to be able to have digital experiences around the products.” Who should retailers look to for these solutions, I asked? Capgemini is working with large players (including Microsoft) and a number of smaller, highly specialized startups to deliver on digital avatars, products, and experiences.

It seems that a potential future direction for the fashion industry is implementing digitized fashion illustration at the first stage of design to connect to 3D CAD/CAM software and equipment for on-demand manufacturing, then eventually the digital product presentation tools at the consumer end. Of course, this is dependent on 3D design tools being adopted by designers and brands, which still proves to be a challenge, based on the views of Gettini and a number of designers I have spoken to at global brands. The challenge is largely due to the technical nature of the interfaces currently on offer to fashion designers via 3D design software.

In addition, the preference for hand-drawing and painstaking manual design techniques still dominates amongst senior designers and creative directors (for whom the design and development processes are often structured to accommodate). Indeed, 3D digital design is still notably absent from the curriculums of top fashion colleges, with many 3D digital designers being self-taught (or from a gaming or film background). The fashion design students I have spoken to who are exploring 3D digital design are learning from online tutorials and forums in place of being taught formally at university. If a “Unity for fashion” does emerge, a new generation of fashion designers who buck the tradition of a fashion college education may yet define, and design, the fashion of our future.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a sustainability and fashion tech journalist, innovator and public speaker with several years of experience working across this growing sector. I am also Director of the innovation agency BRIA, where we create materials-tech collaborations and sustainability innovations with brands from both the fashion and technology sectors, directly combining my knowledge of the latest developments in fashion tech with my cross-discipline approach to developing new materials. As one of few specialists with career experience of working in the fields of both science and design, as well as previously running a fashion brand, I use my expertise to write about the new emerging sector of fashion tech, along with the advances which will drive sustainability in the fashion industry. I have written for a number of publications, including HuffPost and my own platform, Techstyler, and have been invited to speak about fashion tech at numerous conferences and events, including delivering a TED talk.

Source: Is Digitization The Savior Of The Fashion Industry?

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‘Rich’ Or ‘Poor’ Clothing Affects Split-Second Decisions About Competence

Humans are famously judgey—it’s one of our more unfortunate traits. It wouldn’t be so harmful if judgments, especially first impressions, weren’t formed so quickly (i.e., in less than a second), so prone to error, and so hard to break. To this end, a new study from Princeton University finds that first impressions of a person’s competence can be strongly affected by the clothes he or she is wearing, and can be made in a tiny fraction of a second. And, the study found, even when people were paid to ignore clothes as a relevant factor, they couldn’t.

The study was published earlier this month in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

The researchers carried out a number of experiments to look at the effect of clothes on perceived competence. They showed participants pictures of people from the shoulders up, wearing either “rich” or “poor” clothing, though none of the clothing items the respective groups were really extreme examples of either (ratings of the different types of clothing were also validated by testing them out on another group of participants beforehand).

People wearing rich clothing (e.g., suits and ties) were judged, again and again, as being more competent than people wearing poor clothing. Even when rich clothing was informal (see photo), it still triggered higher ratings of competence than informal poor clothing.

And even when participants were expressly told to ignore clothing, or paid to ignore it, they still made the same competence judgments. The same was true when participants were given information about the professions and incomes of the people in the pictures, to try to counteract the bias. Finally, it occurred when the participants were given varying amounts of time to make a judgment, from 0.129 seconds to one second.

The study obviously has lots of real-world application, namely that already-disadvantaged people might face more disadvantage if they cannot afford “rich” clothing. “Poverty is a place rife with challenges,” said study co-author Eldar Shafir in a statement. “Instead of respect for the struggle, people living in poverty face a persistent disregard and disrespect by the rest of society.

We found that such disrespect — clearly unfounded, since in these studies the identical face was seen as less competent when it appeared with poorer clothing — can have its beginnings in the first tenth of a second of an encounter.”

The authors urge that effective strategies to counteract bias be researched further. In the meantime, some practices already in place may help: making certain decisions about job applicants or students based on resumes or other “on paper” criteria may reduce at least some of the bias.

“Just like teachers sometimes grade blindly so as to avoid favoring some students,” said Shafir, “interviewers and employers may want to take what measures they can, when they can, to evaluate people, say, on paper so as to circumvent indefensible yet hard to avoid competency judgments. Academic departments, for example, have long known that hiring without interviews can yield better scholars. It’s also an excellent argument for school uniforms.”

But there’s still a lot at stake. Humans likely evolved to make very quick decisions based on physical attributes, and we’re still trying to overcome that “ability,” as it can be wholly inaccurate and a contributing factor to persisting inequality.

“Wealth inequality has worsened since the late 1980s in the United States,” said lead author DongWon Oh, a PhD student at the time of the study. “Now the gap between the top 1% and the middle class is over 1,000,000%, a mind-numbing figure. Other labs’ work has shown people are sensitive to how rich or poor other individuals appear. Our work found that people are susceptible to these cues when judging others on meaningful traits, like competence, and that these cues are hard, if not impossible, to ignore.”

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I fell into writing about health shortly after grad school, where I realized I didn’t want to work in a lab for the rest of my life! My main areas of interest are the brain and behavior, as well as what influences the decisions we make about our health, and how we can change it over time. As an undergraduate, I studied English Literature and Biopsychology at Vassar College, and got my PhD in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at CUNY’s Graduate Center in New York City, where I grew up and live now. My work appears in other publications, including the magazine of the University of Chicago’s Business School, YogaGlo.com, TheAtlantic.com, and the American Psychological Association. Please email me at alicegwalton [at] gmail [dot] com or visit my website http://www.alicegwalton.com

Source: ‘Rich’ Or ‘Poor’ Clothing Affects Split-Second Decisions About Competence

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