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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Is China’s Mysterious $15 Billion Fast Fashion Retailer Shein Ready For Stores

Over 30? Then you had better read on. Shein may not be a household name like e-commerce giants, Alibaba BABA -0.4%, Taobao, or JD.com, but as China’s newest retail Decacorn, its mystery-shrouded low profile is matched only by a single-minded ambition to become a global fast-fashion retailer.

Founded in 2008, Nanjing-based Shein is aimed squarely at Gen Z, luring young shoppers via Instagram and TikTok influencers and a barrage of discount codes for low-cost styles – with a dress costing just half that of a Zara equivalent, according to Societe Generale – uploading new products online in their hundreds every week.

Yet beyond its teen audience, ultra-publicity shy Shein remains largely unknown. But that anonymity could all be about to change after the Pearl River-based company became a surprise potential bidder for ailing U.K. fashion group Arcadia. While it failed in that attempt, the message is clear: Shein is ready to take on Main Street.

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The story really starts at the beginning of 2012, when notoriously hard-working founder and CEO Chris Xu (sometimes known as Yangtian Xu) – an American-born graduate of Washington University – gave up his wedding dress business to acquire the domain Sheinside.com. Initially selling women’s clothing, in 2015 he renamed the company Shein, focused on overseas markets, and began snapping up fashion rivals.

The U.S is now Shein’s largest market, while it also ships to 220 countries, with websites for Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and the U.S. Rapid growth has been propelled by a series of funding rounds, most recently completion of Series E financing in 2020, which gave Shein an eye-watering valuation exceeding $15 billion. Revenues are not disclosed but are locally estimated in excess of $10 billion annually and have continued to soar throughout the pandemic, while it currently counts a number of Asian and international VCs and private equity houses among its backers. MORE FOR YOUFashion’s Nightmare Before Christmas As Debenhams Joins U.K. CarnageAs GameStop Army Goes Global, U.K. Retail And Malls Among Most ShortedDr Martens Puts Best Boot Forward With Year’s First Big IPO

Shein: Fast Fashion, Made Ultra Fast

Remember that age/awareness divide? Well, in the week starting September 27, Shein was apparently the most downloaded shopping app globally on iPhone, according to analytics platform App Annie. It ranked in the top 10 in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, the U.K., and Saudi Arabia.

To service the U.S. market, products are sent from Shein’s warehouse in Foshan, Guangdong province, to a warehouse near Los Angeles, Ca., and fulfillment can take over ten days, glacial by Amazon Prime’s AMZN +0.5% next-day delivery standards. But its affordability has ensured a loyal customer base, lured by an ever-changing roster of women’s clothing and accessories added at an average of 2,000 SKUs every day.

Shein is obsessed with identifying hot searches and trends in different countries to predict the colors, fabrics, and styles that will be popular, with an even faster cycle than Zara owner Inditex. It then promotes heavily with Instagram- and Weibo-friendly imagery, for accessible and attainable fashions across all its social platforms.

However, Shein’s ascent has not been without its problems. In July it was roundly condemned for having a swastika pendant available (an error for which it profusely apologized), while paid-for posts from celebrities and fashion influencers have elevated the brand’s image as well as slowly rebutting its low–cost, low–quality rap. The label even managed to sequester stars like Katy Perry, Lil Nas X, and Rita Ora for its May 2020 #SHEINTogether global streaming event.

The Emergence Of A Global Fashion Player

All this remember for a company that didn’t even have its own supply chain before 2014, preferring to buy directly from Guangzhou’s Shisanhang Garment Wholesale Market. However, faced with soaring demand, Xu created an in-house design team and within two years had assembled an 800-strong army dedicated to designs and prototyping for ultra-fast production. It also garnered a reputation for timely payment, something of a rarity in China, and as a result when Shein moved its supply chain operations center from Guangzhou to Panyu in 2015, almost all of the factories it worked with relocated.

In the same year, Shein entered the Middle East and sales soared, with revenues in 2016 rising to $617 million and exceeding $1.5 billion the year after.

Shein and the hundreds of factories that work with the company have coalesced in a production cluster bearing close similarities to A Coruña in north-east Spain, where Inditex’s headquarters are surrounded by its upstream and downstream suppliers. It has four R&D facilities in Nanjing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, plus six logistics centers in Foshan, Nansha, Belgium, India, and on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. It also has seven customer service centers, based out of Los Angeles, Liege, Manila, Yiwu, and Nanjing, and employs more than 10,000 people.

Future plans are thought to include the development of new businesses in mobile payments, supply chain finance, advertising, and, of course, opening brick-and-mortar stores. Whatever happens, it’s likely to do it ultra-fast.

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Mark Faithfull

Mark Faithfull

I am a global retail and real estate expert who looks behind the headlines to figure out what makes consumers tick. I work as editor-in-chief for MAPIC and editor for World Retail Congress, two of the biggest annual international retail business events.  I also organise, speak at, and chair conferences all over the world, with a focus on how people are changing and what that means for the retail, food & beverage, and leisure industries. And it’s complicated! Forget the tired mantra that online killed the store and remember instead that retail has always been dog-eat-dog: star names rise and fall fast, and only retailers that embrace the madness will survive. Don’t think it’s not important, your pension funds own those malls!

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Randomfacts by Shikhaa

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Chris Xu is the Founder & CEO of SheIn and has an approval rating of 62 from Owler members. They have over 200 employees. Shipping takes 2-3 weeks. Please refer to customer feedback before taking the item. Sizes may also vary from each clothing item. Track Info: Title: Ukulele Artist: Bensound Genre: Pop Mood: Happy Download: http://goo.gl/qNeHBq​ Ukulele by BENSOUND http://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-​… Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b​… Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/G7HoUVcL5-U​ ––– • Contact the artist: bensoundmusic@gmail.com http://www.bensound.com/https://twitter.com/Bensound

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Chinese New Year Message from CI President James B. Heimowitz http://www.chinainstitute.org – February 11[…] And, garnering a worldwide audience, the China Beauty Charity Fund created the China Fashion Gala – One World in Beauty, a dazzling digital event benefitting China Institute, followed by a […]1

Decoding China’s Very Own Sales Cycle – wwd.com – February 10[…] take pride in making the most delicious and innovative Zongzi — even Starbucks and KFC sell them in China — fashion brands are mostly absent […]1

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International Digital Fashion Week: Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021

It was in 2009 when former J.Mendel Creative Director Bibhu Mohapatra decided it was time to launch his eponymous label. Since then, he has dressed some of the most elegant women on the A-list including Viola Davis, Gweneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o and of course, the former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The Bibhu Mohapatra brand is known for uniting ancient craft with seamless tailoring. Bibhu shares, “When I think about my work, it always goes back to this idea of craft. Crafts that are ancient or dying or actively being reinvented.” He does this once again despite a rather icy fashion climate in 2020, with the premiere of the Spring/ Summer 2021 collection at New York Fashion Week and the first ever International Digital Fashion Week.

Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA

The collection’s muse, Amrita Sher-Gil, is an Indian art pioneer and revolutionary who challenged the status quo. She paved the road for future female artists to make their voices heard despite a political and social environment largely dominated by men. Instead of the traditional runway show, Bibhu worked closely with New York-based filmmaker Shruti Ganguly and lensman JD Urban to create a captivating film celebrating the life and times of Amrita. Bibhu’s team enlisted Hamilton Alum Ariana DeBose and Reema Sampat to star in the film.

Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA

Pieces featured in this digital presentation are faithful to the Bibhu aesthetic—architectural and sculptural yet infused with celebratory movement and sense of timelessness. The 26-piece collection highlighted an uncompromising mindset for perfecting details.

Guipure lace, tulle, Chantilly lace and silks were customized just for this collection, creating sense of contrast against details like Supima cotton and embroidered denims. In true form, vibrant color ways of lime, pink, blue and chartreuse played a key role in setting the optimistic mood for the collection. Striking silhouettes through outsized shoulders and unexpected finishes reflected a brand of idealism, ready to explore and embrace a departure from the conventional.

Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021
Bibhu Mohapatra Spring/Summer 2021 at International Digital Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week BIBHU MOHAPATRA

Bibhu expounds: “I wanted to see change and make change an inspiring process. I wanted to collaborate with artists of different genres to articulate my craft. So often, it is the work of artists confirming the darkness and obstacles in our world that ultimately help us make sense of our place within in. This moment in history—if we are listening and looking deeply with our whole selves—has the power to permanently shift our perceptions…Because standing still is no longer an option.”

Bianca Salonga

Bianca Salonga

Luxury fashion and design are two things that I am most passionate about. After being a features editor for a top fashion magazine in Manila called Mega Magazine, I moved to Paris to take up my MBA specializing in Luxury Goods and Fashion Industries. After two years of intensive study and a lot of fine wine in Paris, I returned to Manila to put up my own luxury online store. I’ve also been writing for the Philippines’ top lifestyle magazine, Lifestyle Asia, a publication that aims to define the authentic experience of fine living. 

What happens when Glam stops by Bibhu Mohapatra’s studio, with his favorite fast food in hand? From discussions about the First Lady to his architectural passions, we’re taking you directly into his design space, for secrets from where his breathtaking pieces are created, complete with everyone’s guilty pleasure – french fries.

Check out our other Takeout Takeover pieces: http://bit.ly/glamtakeouttakeover Visit our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/glamyoutube Subscribe to our channel today: http://bit.ly/glamsubscribe Get all the latest news on fashion and style at: http://www.glam.com/ And find out more about Bibhu Mohapatra at: http://www.bibhu.com

PR Ethics Lessons From ‘Roman Holiday’

Among my favorite films is Roman Holiday, an enduring classic and spiritual forerunner to today’s rom-coms, released this month in 1953. In the event you’re not familiar with it, Roman Holiday is the story of a royal who decides to be bad. Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a monarch from an unnamed, exotic country on a state visit to Rome who decides to sneak away and embark on a voyage of discovery in the Eternal City. Hepburn’s character even claims that her father is in public relations! But in fact, he’s royalty!

While out adventuring, she encounters Gregory Peck’s character, Joe Bradley, an American reporter. During their first encounter, Joe doesn’t recognize the princess, but after an unlikely and chaste night together, he soon does. As the morning headlines scream about a missing princess, Joe realizes that he has stumbled across the year’s biggest scoop. Instead of admitting that he is a reporter, Joe claims to be a fertilizer salesman, joining Hepburn’s character on a whirlwind romantic adventure around Rome. Much joy and adventure ensue.

Related: How to Pitch a Story to a Reporter Without Offending Them

In the event you haven’t seen the film, I will try not to spoil it entirely. But the hero journalist, having worked his way so close to the story under initially accidental and then utterly false pretenses, begins to have doubts about using fraudulent access to write a story that will advance his career. Joe Bradley’s character is joined by Eddie Albert, playing a sort of beatnik photographer, Irving Radovich, who is following the princess’s story as well as chasing a big payday, offering a devil’s advocate sort of perspective.

And in a way, this set of circumstances is precisely why Roman Holiday is a metaphor for instances when public relations professionals – or even clients – and journalists become too close. Reporters being too chummy with their subjects has long been an issue in journalistic and PR ethics. Such closeness can lead to unintended consequences. Facts can become blurred, and both parties’ desire for a favorable outcome, in most cases positive coverage, can mean that tough and fair reporting isn’t likely or even possible.

Inaccuracies are often ignored, and “softball” coverage can occur in the name of loyalty. Or, the inverse happens, and negative news about a client can be published without corrections or any sort of forceful rebuttal from PR, because they’re hoping to preserve editorial relationships.

Related: 10 Ways to Get Global PR Exposure

However, there is simply a time to walk away, particularly when the relationship with the subject (or in the case of PR, the subject’s advocate) is going to cloud ethical waters or let key facts or other issues “slide.” This might include the passage of insider or confidential information between reporters and PR people. In many cases, even what seems like a positive story can do longer-term harm, including creating potential long-range consequences for valuation.

Knowing when to walk away from a story based on too much-shared information is a key skill for PR people. This is especially important given that many people who call themselves journalists these days are in fact, opinion writers and wannabe pundits. The integrity of these types is usually suspect, as are the media outlets that they work for.

Furthermore, not walking away from a potentially negative or controversial story can have the effect of lumping a client in a group with unsavory other subjects, creating unpleasant comparisons across the marketplace and tarnishing a firm’s brand image. It is also acceptable to walk away from stories that take up too many company or agency resources or stories that move forward even when the reporter has the wrong premise. It is also highly acceptable to walk away when the story goes against company values and/or hurts client allies.

Related: Kylie Jenner’s Removal from Forbes’ Billionaires List Underscores the Basic Rules of PR

In case you’re itching to know what happens in the film, Gregory Peck’s character does choose the honorable path and sacrifices a large payday in the name of romance and honor. Stoically, his character leaves the big scoop unpublished, ultimately assuring the princess that no negative coverage will come as a result of their “Roman holiday” together, and they part ways.

His honorable act in the film echoes the sort of ethics and good judgment that PR people should practice when it comes to overly-cozy relationships with the press and deciding whether or not to walk away from a story.

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