Diane Von Furstenberg, rocked by pandemic, insists the jet-setting woman hasn’t gone away

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Diane Von Furstenberg, founder of the eponymous DVF fashion brand and creator of its iconic wrap dress, knows a thing or two about travel. The Belgian-born designer studied in England, Spain, and Switzerland before marrying into German nobility and founding her womenswear brand in New York. 

The aforementioned jersey wrap dress was created by DVF for women like Von Furstenberg who lived out of a suitcase but wanted to remain chic. Its fans include Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, as well as legions of professional women and expectant mothers. 

“You know, I’ve always been the same woman, I was the same woman at 20,” said Von Furstenberg at Fortune’s MPW Next Gen virtual conference on Tuesday. “I wanted to be a woman who can move and … Read the rest

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Amazon Prime Day expected to hit nearly $10 billion in a big jolt to retailers’ holiday shopping plans

Once again, Amazon is setting the agenda in retail with its two-day Prime Day sales event starting on Tuesday, an annual shopping extravaganza that comes three months later this year than it has in the past.

The online retailer’s global sales on October 13 and 14 should hit about $9.9 billion, including more than $6 billion in the U.S. alone, according to projections from eMarketer. That’s up 43% over Prime Day in 2019, when the event took place in July. JPMorgan has similar expectations, projecting Prime Day will generate U.S. revenue of $7.5 billion, up 42% over last year. (Amazon does not disclose the sales results.)

Prime Day started off in 2015 as a made up event to drum up sales at the quiet time of the year for shopping. But this year, Prime Day stands in as the kick-off to the 2020 holiday season—three weeks before Christmas spending … Read the rest

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How the finance industry can combat racism

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” – Amy Cooper 

“I’m a tenant of the building; are you?” – Tom Austin

Amid the unrest, anger, and outrage at the sheer injustice of systemic racism, Amy Cooper and Tom Austin are just two examples of white people using their privilege in an attempt to control Black people who dared to exert personal agency in shared spaces. After being called out publicly, Cooper lost her job, and Austin lost his office lease. 

Why point out these incidents instead of the thousands of other examples? Because while both apologized and stated “I’m not a racist,” they had tremendous influence in the finance industry through their leadership positions. 

There are real questions as to how these implicit biases influenced hiring, advancement, and access to capital at their firms. Their actions in these moments provide a spotlight on how … Read the rest

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The next President must tackle the intertwined crises of racial injustice and climate change

Hurricane Delta, the 25th named Atlantic storm of the 2020 hurricane season, made landfall in southwest Louisiana in almost the exact same place Hurricane Laura swept through just weeks ago. Laura struck Gulf Coast communities the week of the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. In Laura’s wake, a chemical plant ignited into flames in Lake Charles, La., spewing toxic smoke into the surrounding area for three days.

This is the heart of the petrochemical industry in the U.S., where clusters of industrial facilities dot the landscape. As protests around the country have drawn attention to Black people being killed by police violence again and again, violence of pollution and climate disaster plagues these same communities.

Over 48% of Lake Charles’s residents are Black people. Since Katrina made landfall 15 years ago, devastating Black communities in particular, the country has seen waves of disasters amplifying existing inequality. In 2017, when Hurricane … Read the rest

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The Ford Foundation announces $180 million in new racial justice grants, supported by proceeds from social bonds

The Ford Foundation announced $180 million in new grant funding for U.S. racial justice and civil rights groups, the organizations large and small who are doing essential work to address systemic racism and support full democratic inclusion. This latest funding doubles the Foundation’s existing commitments in the civil justice arena to $330 million.

This latest allocation has been made possible by a deft use of capital markets—unprecedented in philanthropic history. In June, the Foundation announced its plan to borrow $1 billion in social bonds to increase its grant-giving capacity at a time when mission-critical organizations large and small are losing revenue due to the coronavirus.

“What was creative was figuring out a way to increase our giving while not diminishing the current value of our endowment,” Ford Foundation president Darren Walker tells Fortune.

He recalls the time in March and April when the Foundation was facing a confluence of issues, … Read the rest

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Trump’s path to 270 narrows as Wisconsin becomes more important than ever

President Donald Trump’s once-comfortable advantage in the pivotal region of Wisconsin around the blue-collar hub of Green Bay has dwindled. In suburban Milwaukee, long a Republican-dominated area, it has thinned as well.

And his supporters are far from confident he can find thousands of new voters in the state’s sparsely populated rural areas to make up for the setbacks.

Trump’s path to victory in Wisconsin, a state he won narrowly in 2016, has become increasingly complicated, and so has his path to the 270 electoral votes needed for his reelection.

“It’s challenging. There are far more states in play in 2020 than there were in 2016,” said Whit Ayers, a veteran Republican pollster. “And they include states Trump won by a significant margin like Arizona, Iowa, Ohio and Georgia.”

Few states are as important to the president’s prospects as Wisconsin, which he carried by less than 23,000 votes out of … Read the rest

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What it’s like to open a new restaurant during a pandemic

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As even a cursory glance at unemployment figures and business closures around the country will show, 2020 has to be the worst year in the history of modern restaurants.

Imagine still trying to open a restaurant this year in the face of all that.

But given how long it takes to open a restaurant in the first place—let alone reopen one during a pandemic after a multi-month shutdown—there might not be much choice for some owners except to press on. Investments have been made, contracts and leases signed, and opening and reopening (even if only for takeout, delivery, and perhaps outdoor dining) are the only paths to recouping any losses sustained during the shutdown.

“The restaurant and bar industry has become the villain of COVID-spreading, and I … Read the rest

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Guitar legend Eddie Van Halen dies of cancer at 65

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band Van Halen into one of hard rock’s biggest groups, fueled the unmistakable fiery solo in Michael Jackson’s hit “Beat It” and became elevated to the status of rock god, has died. He was 65.

A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement.

With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall … Read the rest

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COVID-19 is making a dangerous comeback in most parts of America

COVID-19 is spreading again across most of the U.S., hammering rural America and smaller cities and raising anxiety in New York, as experts warn that school reopenings and colder weather may cause the situation to rapidly deteriorate.

In 34 states, the seven-day average of new cases is higher now than it was a month ago. Although the virus has waned in populous states including California and Florida, it is wreaking unprecedented havoc in the Midwest and making an incipient return in parts of the Northeast.

“The weather report is darkly cloudy with further storms on the horizon,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Medical professionals have long warned about a resurgence of the novel coronavirus as colder temperatures in North America drive people inside and many jurisdictions reopen schools. Knowing that, scientists have been racing to prepare a vaccine. But even if it … Read the rest

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How to fix Silicon Valley

It was one of big tech’s most ignominious moments. Back in 2015, the search feature of the Google Photos app tagged two Black people as “gorillas,” prompting a toe-curling apology from the tech giant, which blamed machine learning–trained “automatic image labeling.” 

While the affair was plainly an unintentional glitch, it was in another sense no mere accident, but a product of an industry dangerously out of touch with its users. From disinformation and voter manipulation to privacy breaches and the new “feudal system” unleashed by the gig economy, tech’s toxic fallout emanates essentially from one source: how tech is built, the way engineering teams work, the bubble a lot of them live in, and the pool from which talent is selected.  

It’s usually glossed over that tech engineers tend to be recruited from similar backgrounds. In my own experience, backed by academic research, they are also likely to be … Read the rest

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