Authenticity is Overrated

Miquela Sousa, who recently graced billboards from London to Japan as part of an UGG ad campaign, ticks off all the boxes for a fashion model of the moment: She is exotic, attractive and huge on Instagram.

She is also entirely fake news, a computer-generated character who—despite her Instagram posts—can’t feel the pain of a hangover or appreciate how hard it is to walk in stilettos.

Miquela was created by LA startup, Brud, which is betting that it can turn her, and other CGI social-media personalities, into a cast of characters that is one part Marvel Entertainment and one part Kardashian.

Like comic-book characters or even Barbie, they can evolve with the times without aging. And, unlike real-life characters, their drama can be managed. Brud launched Miquela on Instagram in 2016. With carefully composed images, she appeared lifelike and didn’t identify herself as CGI until recently, as part of a staged drama that played out over a series of posts. On Instagram, she (it?) professed to be angry at Brud for lying to her about her true origin. Yoree Koh & Georgia WellsThe Wall Street Journalh

Investing in Retail Stores

What apocalypse?

The Tiffany & Co. building on 5th Avenue & 57th Street in New York City may be the most enduring example of what traditional retailing looked like before the Internet arrived. So it’s striking that the Tiffany & Co. of 2018, faced with an onslaught of online ecommerce, is responding by making a big new bet on that big old store. It’s investing $250 million in the 78-year-old flagship.

It turns out that all over the disrupted and evolving retail sector, companies are rethinking the mantra that the future is digital, and are pouring money into actual brick-and-mortar stores. 

Three blocks west of Tiffany’s flagship store is the new 47,000 sq. ft. Nordstrom‘s Men’s Store with a full store opening next door. And, Target has committed $7 billion to upgrade operations, and while the Minneapolis retailer hasn’t disclosed how much of that will go to improving physical locations, a spokeswoman said stores are an “incredibly important linchpin.”

Why? Because the bulk of America’s retail is still done the old-fashioned way, in stores…

{An “Apocalypse” is an event involving destruction on a catastrophic scale. Whereas “evolution” is the development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.}