The Latest Divisive ‘Y2K’ Trend? Sexy-Cozy Juicy Couture Tracksuits – Even Thrift Stores Aren’t Immune From Rising Prices – Modern Love – No Longer My Mother’s Daughter – The Best Stylus for iPad, Surface and Samsung Tablets – The Saturday Essay: Who Won the U.S.-China Trade War?

The Latest Divisive ‘Y2K’ Trend? Sexy-Cozy Juicy Couture Tracksuits – Even Thrift Stores Aren’t Immune From Rising Prices – Modern Love – No Longer My Mother’s Daughter – The Best Stylus for iPad, Surface and Samsung Tablets – The Saturday Essay: Who Won the U.S.-China Trade War?


Again the TextileFuture Team has chosen for you five features of a different kind, but all worth reading carefully.

The first feature shows the newest trends in fashion and is entitled “The Latest Divisive ‘Y2K’ Trend? Sexy-Cozy Juicy Couture Tracksuits.

The second item is about thrift stores in USA and bears the title Even Thrift Stores Aren’t Immune From Rising Prices”. It will show you how the shoppers changed their habits.

The third item is entitled “Modern Love – No Longer my Mother’s Daughter, presenting “I am transmasculine, which is to say I understand my body even less than I understand my mother.”, it represents a series of the New York Times on “Modern Love”.

The fourth feature is of practical value to you and bears the title “The Best Stylus for iPad, Surface and Samsung Tablets”. It is an item of service to you with the regarding pro’s and con’s.

The last, but not least item is entitled “The Saturday Essay: Who Won the U.S.-China Trade War? It brings to you some very intersting facts and figures, as well as the development of trade with Vietnam.

The TextileFuture team wishes you a week of plenty success in business and privately, and don’t forget to return next Tuesday for another edition of TextileFuture’s Newsletter!


Here is the beginning of the first feature:


The Latest Divisive ‘Y2K’ Trend? Sexy-Cozy Juicy Couture Tracksuits

Inspired by early 2000s photographs of Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, Gen-Z shoppers are snapping up body-conscious velour athleisure pieces on resale sites like DePop and Poshmark.

By guest author Rory Satran from the Wall Street Magazine.

All captions are courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, the Wall Street Magazine and the New York Times. To all we are very greatful.


On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was shocked to notice a young woman striding through the Sunset Tower Hotel restaurant wearing a bubblegum-pink velour Juicy Couture tracksuit with “Juicy” spelled in rhinestones across her derriere. With her long blond hair and visible thong, she was a dead ringer for the outfit’s original champion, Paris Hilton, who made skimpy-cozy Juicy ensembles her signature in the early 2000s. Sighing into my French fries, I felt the panic of a millennial old enough to remember the gaudy look’s first heyday. Didn’t we just recover from that haute-athleisure period?

Twenty-seven years after Juicy Couture was founded in Los Angeles by Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy, the brand is attracting fans among teenagers and 20-somethings who weren’t born yet when celebrities like Ms. Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez first paraded the look through West Hollywood. “We put L.A. style on the map at a time when celebrity was becoming the driving force in fashion,” wrote Ms. Nash-Taylor and Ms. Skaist-Levy in their 2014 book “The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned It Into a Global Brand.”

Paparazzi photos of those stars—emerging from convertibles in flip-flops, padding down Melrose Avenue carrying iced coffees—are now on the vision boards of a new generation. (Image-sharing platform Pinterest reports that the search term “Juicy couture track suit 2000s” has doubled in the past year.) Olivia Hopley, a 25-year-old London vintage dealer, grew up near Brighton, England idolizing the older teens and celebrities she saw wearing Juicy Couture. Today, she wears vintage Juicy tracksuits often, and has sold hundreds of them online on DePop over the past few years. She said, “Y2K as an era has just come back in the craziest way, and Juicy Couture tracksuits are the epitome of that—velour, bright colors, diamanté.”

Ms. Hopley said that she sees the tracksuits “everywhere” in London. It’s a second life for a brand that was omnipresent at the beginning of the millennium, selling tracksuits but also logo handbags, Barbies, pet carriers and ball gowns. In “The Glitter Plan” the founders wrote, “We didn’t just create a brand; we created a whole rainbow-hued Fluffian universe complete with a visual vocabulary (pink power, purse dogs, and matching outfits) and our very own pink Latin, a language we call Juicy speak, with “Smells Like Couture,” “Live for Sugar,” “Choose Juicy,” and other slogans written on T-shirts and across derrieres throughout the land.”

Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc. (formerly Liz Claiborne Inc.) bought Juicy Couture for an undisclosed price in 2003, and in 2013 licensing firm Authentic Brands Group acquired Juicy Couture’s intellectual property for $195 million. It still churns out new velour tracksuits produced by manufacturing partners, and executes collaborations with brands including, most recently in 2022, trendy Danish brand Ganni.

But many of Juicy Couture’s newfound fans prefer to buy the original vintage tracksuits, which have become a hot commodity on resale sites including DePop, Poshmark and eBay. Poshmark saw a 117 % increase in Juicy Couture sales in March 2021 compared to March 2020. Vintage tracksuits usually sell for between USD 75-USD 200, not too far off from the set’s original price in 2001 of USD 155.

When it launched, the velour tracksuit pulled the paradoxical trick of being extremely dressed down while also looking marginally put-together, making it a hit among celebrities that knew they’d be photographed slumming around town. Juicy was also one of the first brands to aggressively gift its product to A-listers. “It was a brand that considered influencers long before the word ‘influencer’ even existed,” said Natasha Fishman, chief communications officer and executive vice president of marketing at Authentic Brands.

Ms. Fishman said that seeding tracksuits to celebrities was still part of the brand strategy. Although the new tracksuits are gifted to Gen-Z icons like YouTuber Addison Rae and “Euphoria” star Chloe Cherry, its younger fans are often fixated on the past. Mackenzie Shirilla, a 17-year-old aspiring model in Cleveland, Ohio, said she first became aware of Juicy tracksuits through old photos of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears and TikTok videos. She has a small collection of jewel-colored vintage Juicy tracksuits, and has inspired some of her friends to buy them too.

Highly sensitive trendsetters have been ready for a Juicy revival for years. The avant-garde fashion brand Vetements collaborated with Juicy Couture on an actual couture line in 2016, and actor Timothée Chalamet wore his own pink Juicy hoodie in a GQ spread in 2020. Gabriel Held, a New York vintage-clothing dealer and stylist, said there was “a lag between people who reference fashion of the recent past subversively and a mainstream revival, which speaks to the re-rise of the Juicy velour.” Mr. Held himself was inspired to start wearing matching sets several years ago, inspired by the stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, who layers Juicy tracksuits with blingy jewelry.

Although the current resurgence puts the spotlight on vintage pieces, Authentic Brands recognizes it as an opportunity for Juicy Couture. Ms. Fishman, its marketer, said“We completely embrace it.” Sales of new Juicy Couture increased 137% in January-May 2022 compared to the same period last year. Ms. Fishman said, “The current trend of reselling has been an incredible tool for Juicy…It drives brand awareness.”

Ms. Shirilla, speaking to me from her tracksuit-filled closet at her parents’ house in Cleveland, said, “I was born in 2004 and [Juicy was] popping in 2004.” Using Paris Hilton’s distinctive Valley-girl drawl she continued, “That’s hot. I want to look like that.”


Appeared in the May 18, 2022, print edition as ‘A Juicy Y2K-Era Comeback’.


This is the start of the second item:

Even Thrift Stores Aren’t Immune From Rising Prices

Remember the dollar T-shirt bin? Try USD 56, for some wares. At Goodwill, the Salvation Army and others, you may have to dig deeper for bargains.

By guest author Jacob Gallagher from the Wall Street Journal

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The thrift store is becoming a bit less thrifty.

Shoppers are reporting that prices are inching up at their local thrift stores, which have long been a trusty stopover for a one-dollar T-shirt or five-dollar jacket. Billy Seidel, 33, of South Portland, Maine, a full-time clothing reseller, is baffled by some of the prices at his region’s Goodwill store lately, like a used Carhartt jacket for USD 50, when a new version retails for about USD 80. “Let’s say five, six years ago, everything was a flat line price of 99 cents or USD 1.99.” Those days, to him, are long gone.

The rise of canny used-clothing resellers has driven some prices up at thrift stores. And with inflation climbing to over 8 % since May 2020, even thrift stores are feeling the impact. Nichole Webster-Smith, 30, a clothing reseller in the Seattle area has seen some “substantially overpriced” items in her nearby thrift stores. She caught the thrifting bug from her mother and began reselling clothes (particularly vintage Patagonia) in recent years. She visits several thrift stores a week in search of gems to flip online. Rising prices have, at times, left her confused as they seem beyond what anyone—even a prospect-hungry reseller—would pay. Recently, she encountered North Face jackets for as much as USD 70 (many of the brand’s new jackets sell for a bit over $100) and a vintage Filson duffle bag for USD 200, “which felt a bit absurd.”

Bill Parrish, senior consultant in donated goods retail for Goodwill Industries International, said that while there has not been a set price increase across the board at the non-profit’s retail locations, each Goodwill organization adjusts its pricing periodically “to ensure that they are in line with the value of the category of items provided.” Greg Tuck, the assistant national community relations and development secretary at The Salvation Army USA, likewise acknowledged that prices at the charity’s thrift stores were set by each store, and have crept up in some cases.

While thrift stores do not purchase their inventory (it largely comes by way of tax-deductible donations) they still have to pay for operational costs such as staffing, utilities and rent. “We are always trying to make sure that people are earning a livable wage,” said Mr. Tuck.

Still, he stressed that prices at Salvation Army stores are not reaching an untenable level for its core, budget-conscious customers. “We’ve got to make sure that there’s stuff for them that is affordable,” he said. To be clear: those dollar T-shirts and five-dollar jackets will always be there.

Beyond inflationary aftershocks, thrift stores have gotten wise to the fact that there are covetable, profitable gems lurking in their trove of textiles. “Our staff are trained, as much as we can, to identify the high-value things and then we’ll sell them for high value,” said Mr. Tuck. Salvation Army’s 987 thrift stores fund its 96 nationwide rehab centers. Goodwill uses its proceeds to support child care, financial education and other social services.

In the past few years, thrift stores have honed their ecommerce chops, flipping higher-value goods through sites like eBay and Instagram. The Salvation Army of Atlanta, for example, recently sold a vintage Larry Bird T-shirt for USD 56 and a Billy Reid cardigan for USD 46 via its eBay page. “Many of the stores that I personally go to are setting up their own eBay shops and they’re selling stuff online themselves,” said Suzanne Butler, 35, a longtime thrifter and part-time reseller in the Nashville suburbs.

It’s easy to see why a thrift store might want to get in on the resale action. According to a report from the resale start-up ThredUp the second-hand clothing market was at $36 billion in 2021 and is on track to hit USD 77 billion by 2025.

Used clothes can now fetch gobsmacking prices on the secondary market. In 2020, a 1992 shirt showing the Genie from the movie “Aladdin” sold for USD 6000 over social media. A year later, a Grateful Dead T-shirt from 1967 sold at Sotheby’s for USD 17640.

These big numbers have helped fuel a secondhand gold rush, with resellers flocking to their local thrift stores in search of a single gem that could pay off that month’s rent. “There’s more people looking for [vintage]. And so that’s probably taking away some inventory,” said Turner Isenberg, 24, a reseller in Little Rock, Ark, who hunts for vintage varsity jackets, aged T-shirts and military fatigue pants.

As in any market, scarcity drives prices up, so resellers seeking a culprit for elevated prices may want to look in the mirror. But the idiosyncratic thrifting market has many variables. “Not all resellers are created equal,” said Ms. Webster-Smith of the Seattle area. She may be willing to pay for a pair of Arc’teryx pants, while the young shopper next to her is more interested in a vintage Mariners jersey he can boast about on TikTok. In the thrift store aisles, a deal is really in the eye of the beholder.

A price also hinges on how savvy a store worker is. One employee could know that a pair of Lululemon leggings is worth $40 or so on eBay, while their shiftmate might have never Googled the brand.

This surge of flip-happy prospectors has ignited fears (particularly on Gen-Z favorite social media platforms like TikTok) that thrift stores may get cleaned out of their inventory, leaving frugal shoppers with nowhere to shop. Companies that operate thrift stores dismissed these concerns. “I don’t think we’ll ever be in a place where we don’t have stuff,” said Mr. Tuck, noting that the Salvation Army received $68 million worth of donations during last year’s Christmas season alone. “Part of our culture in America is that we are consumers and we are replacers, and we just hope that the public always see us as a viable place to make those kinds of donations.” At Goodwill, clothing makes up about 48% of its sales, a figure that has hardly fluctuated over the years. In other words, resellers aren’t making much of a difference.

The glut of clothing on-hand at thrift stores is often visible. “I was just at Goodwill yesterday and they were rolling out racks and racks,” said Ms. Butler of the Nashville area. “You drive by the donation site, and it’s literally overflowing.”


Here beginns the third item:

Modern Love – No Longer My Mother’s Daughter

“I am transmasculine, which is to say I understand my body even less than I understand my mother.”

By guest author August Singer from the New York Times, August Singer, a senior at Reed College in Portland, Ore., is a finalist in the Modern Love college essay contest.

I recently found a journal entry I wrote in February of my sophomore year of college that was a question directed to my mother: “What do you need from me?” A year later, I had added underneath: “Can you even see me?”

Even as a child I don’t think my mother and I understood each other. I was temperamental, sensitive — the most anxious toddler she says she had ever met. I was afraid of almost everything: going to sleep, doctor visits and vaccines, throwing up, food that was not white or beige.

Until I was 13, I slept almost every night on the floor of my parents’ bedroom, next to our dog. I couldn’t bear to be in the dark by myself. Most of my behavioral education was conducted through bribery, because I couldn’t be convinced to be “good” otherwise. If I slept in my own bed, my mother would sing me lullabies. If I sat still for a flu shot, she would let me pick out a Playmobil toy from her closet.

I am transmasculine, which is to say I understand my body even less than I understand my mother. I have always felt unsettled about my appearance. I envied the way girls I knew seemed to float in their bodies as if they knew they were supposed to be there.

Trying to be a girl for me felt like gathering sand in my hands: there, tangible, but not something I was allowed to keep. The turbulence settled in my chest, and grew, through fifth grade training bras to seventh grade A-cups to 10th grade and what my mother called a “va va voom” figure.

I hated this chest that marked me as so horribly wrong and began wearing a binder, a compression shirt, to flatten it. When I was a child, my mother showed me the scars from her breast reduction at age 20. When I saw what her genes had ordained for my body, I realized that I was destined to uphold her surgical legacy.

Whenever I came home to Bend, Ore., from college to visit, my mother and younger sister and I would drive to the grocery store after dinner to get dessert. On one of these trips, during my second year of college, I drove us to the fancy grocery store on the far side of town.

My sister knew about my gender first because I told her everything first. At a restaurant during Thanksgiving, I had blurted it out to my father, asking him not to tell anyone, which had gone better than I expected. My mother was the last to know but also the one whose opinion mattered most. I needed her to understand, and I was terrified she wouldn’t.

Now, as I drove, a lump rose from my bound chest and settled in my throat. I swallowed hard and said, “I’m not a girl.”

My mother said nothing. “I don’t want you to call me a ‘she.’”Silence.“I want to go on hormones, and I want to get top surgery.” Finally, she spoke. “I don’t believe you. You’re just saying this to get a rise out of me.”I raised my voice. “Not everything is about you!” “How could this not be about me?” “It isn’t!” “So you want to be a man?

I couldn’t answer that. “Man” felt grotesque. All I had ever wanted — and all my mother had wanted for me — was to feel pretty, to feel right.

My mother and sister went into the store, but I stayed in the car in the parking lot and stared ahead into the night, blinking through hot tears.

I didn’t bring it up again for a long time, or rather I didn’t bring it up in ways she had to address. I already had changed my name to her father’s name, August, which I think was tolerable to her because of the familial ties. When I shaved my head and called myself “they” and butched myself up, she pretended not to notice.

I let her. I never corrected her when she referred to me as her daughter; I rarely corrected her when she called me the wrong name. She would buy me tight fitting V-neck shirts, and I would smile. Neither of us wanted to, or could, acknowledge how I was growing into someone who wasn’t her daughter.

Finally, though, the pain of being in my body exceeded my fear of changing my relationship with my mother, and I scheduled a consultation and then a surgery date to get a gender-confirming bilateral mastectomy. In March, when the surgery center called me to schedule the procedure, I called my mother right after.

“I have my surgery date!” “When?” “July.” “That’s far away.” “It’s only a few months.” “You’ll have to buy a lot of stuff. Surgery is a huge deal, hon. I don’t think you’re ready.”

I sometimes wonder if she felt like my surgery was a criticism of her and her body, a rejection of her genes. Once, over the phone, she wept that she had birthed a perfect child and couldn’t see why I would ruin that. When I was little, my mother, a painter, would take me to the art museum, and whenever we saw a painting of a woman with a baby, my mother would say, “That’s you and me.”

A few weeks after I called her with my surgery date, she texted me an article about X gender markers on passports for nonbinary people, with the accompanying text, “Traveling transgender.” “Omg, cool!” I texted back.

“I know,” she wrote, “it’s worrisome if you don’t look like the gender on your passport. I have short hair, wear jeans, sometimes no makeup. At a Mexican restaurant, a waiter called me ‘sir.’ ”I think it was her way of saying: “Your body has not been kind to you. My body has not always been kind to me either.”

In July after my junior year of college, my mother came to my city to take me to the hospital. In the prep room, I put on the gown, and the surgeon drew marks on my chest with a blue sharpie. “What are those for?” my mother asked. “Those are where we make the incisions,” the surgeon said. Oh,” said my mother, and began weeping.

A nurse entered my cubicle to insert an IV but couldn’t find a vein, and by the sixth or seventh poke, I had begun to cry. My mother held my hand, rubbing circles into my palm, and sang to me while the nurse wriggled the needle around in my arm.

When I woke up after surgery, my first thought was how thirsty I was. My next thought was that my mother was there beside me, rubbing circles on my hand, crying but smiling. “Those idiots didn’t call me when you got out of surgery,” she whispered. “I thought you’d died.”

I don’t remember my mother taking photos, but there’s a picture of me with the bandages unwrapped, fresh bloody scars in curved lines across my chest, the remnants of blue marker. I’m holding a cup of grape juice, the straw in my mouth, and I’m flashing a peace sign. It’s the happiest I have ever seen myself look on camera.

On the car ride back to my place, I vomited grape juice. As I leaned out the passenger door gagging, my mother held me up and brushed my hair and repeated that I would be OK. At home, she took off my shoes, folded me into bed. Days later, when my wounds were healed enough that I was able to lift my arms above my head, I showed her how far I could stretch, and she exclaimed, “That’s amazing! You’re amazing!”

I don’t look like my mother. She has high cheekbones and a tough jaw. My face is soft, round, but I have her reddish hair, freckles. We both have surgical scars on our chests. In photos of us together, you can see exactly where I came from.

The May before I got top surgery, I went home for the first time in almost a year. My mother and I were in the kitchen. I already knew I wanted her to be the one to bring me to the hospital and take care of me after, but I was almost certain she would say no, that she didn’t want to be a part of it, that she would come to terms with this but couldn’t bring herself to help me through it.

I asked anyway: “Hey, Mom. Would you drive me to the hospital? For my surgery in July?”

A long pause. She glanced at me, her daughter-son, over the top of her reading glasses. “You know, after it happens,” she said, with a nod toward my torso, “you’re going to look great in tight shirts.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 22, 2022, Section ST, Page 6 of the New York edition with the headline: No Longer My Mother’s Daughter.


Here starts the item that serves you:

The Best Stylus for iPad, Surface and Samsung Tablets

Apple Pencil 2, Microsoft’s Surface Slim Pen 2 and Samsung’s S Pen each have their pros and cons; for the iPad, there are budget options, too.

By guest author By Kenny Wassus from the Wall Street Journal.

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Ancient scribes pulled off writing and drawing with a stick and some soot. Thousands of years later, Apple, AAPL 0.17%▲ Microsoft MSFT -0.23%▼ and Samsung SSNHZ 0.00%▲ haven’t quite replicated that same physical experience, but they’re getting close.

If you’re looking to make the jump into digital writing and drawing, there’s never been a better—albeit more confusing—time. The big tablet makers offer stylus options but they only work with their own tablets. Nope, no Samsung pen for your Apple iPad. That means your decision will likely be based on the device you’re starting with.

As an aspiring cartoonist and budding bullet-journal note taker, I decided to test the top offerings. I also tried some budget stylus options made by accessory companies for the iPad, which currently sits on the market-share throne.

Every year, the companies focus on stylus updates that inch closer to the feel of working with real pens on real paper. Reduced lag between hand motion and screen visuals, heightened sensitivity to your hand’s pressure and an overall increase in precision all play a role. When testing, I paid close attention to those factors, along with the feel of the pen itself in my hand.

Here’s which tablets and styluses—don’t say “styli”!—are best for drawing and note-taking.

Microsoft Slim Pen 2 for Surface Devices

Price: USD 119

Works with: Various Microsoft Surface Pro tablets and other devices

Pros: The Surface Slim Pen 2 offers the most fun in-hand experience of all the styluses I reviewed. Its flat-edged design, weighty heft and extra-fine pen tip make it stand out among its pointed peers. Plus, it won’t roll off your desk, and charges magnetically. It was also the only stylus with haptic feedback: The pen vibrates as you draw, emulating the friction of pen and paper.

The Surface can run pro-grade Windows-compatible design apps, like Photoshop and Illustrator. It has consumer-friendly options such as the free-to-try (but $24.99 to buy) Sketchable. It’s a lighter, more accessible variation on the theme, and it even lets you export to Photoshop. Microsoft’s own OneNote is a beefy cross-platform app (available for Windows, Android and Apple devices) allowing users to scrawl, draw and organize notes easily.

Cons: The Slim Pen 2’s haptic feedback, while neat, feels a bit like a novelty, and only works on the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Pro Studio. In terms of pressure sensitivity, the stylus sometimes faltered when I had a very light touch, causing awkward transitions between thin and thick lines. The best design apps, including Photoshop, are still tailored for mouse and trackpad, and can be clumsy to operate with styluses in general.

Samsung S Pen for Galaxy Tabs and Phones

Price: Included with some Galaxy tablets; USD 60 to replace

Works with: Various Samsung Galaxy Tabs (plus some premium Galaxy smartphones)

Pros: In some apps, especially Samsung’s own Notes app, the S Pen writes the most like a pen. As soon as the stylus hits the screen, the ink flows. The S Pen’s soft marker-style tip (or nib, as the companies call them) makes it fun to write with and is the quietest of all styluses tested. Unlike the Apple Pencil, which doesn’t work on any iPhones, the S Pen works with other large-screen Galaxy smartphones, such as the Z Fold3 and S22 Ultra.

Cons: The pen itself feels too insubstantial—like something you’d get to keep score at minigolf. That can make it uncomfortable to hold for extended use. (You could upgrade to the larger USD 99 S Pen Pro.) Also, the nibs wear down quickly, and Samsung doesn’t offer replacements, like Apple and Microsoft. You can find off-brand replacement parts at Amazon and elsewhere.

An even bigger liability is that the Android app ecosystem lacks the professional software options of both iPadOS and Windows. There’s no full version of Photoshop or Procreate, another popular app.

Apple Pencil 2 for iPad

Price: USD 129

Works with: The most recent iPad Air, Mini and Pro models

Pros: The Apple Pencil 2 features a flat edge so it isn’t constantly rolling off tables like its round predecessor. Its soft matte finish feels great and helps keep it from feeling oily after hours of drawing or writing.

The Apple Pencil 2 had the best pressure sensitivity of all styluses tested. The lines are straight, with no wobble or jitter, and when you add more or less pressure while drawing, the ink flow responds accordingly without getting blotchy.

Software-wise, the USD…  high level of control and customization. It’s as accessible for someone like me, who doesn’t draw full time, as it is useful for pros, and allows users to export projects into Photoshop.

Cons: Want to charge your Pencil 2? You’ll need your iPad for that. Really. It wirelessly charges by attaching to the side of compatible Pads. There’s no cable-based, plug-in-the-wall option. Potential charging inconvenience aside, there’s also the issue of the magnetically clinging Pencil becoming a flight risk, as it has on the many occasions when I knocked it askew.

It’s also noisy. When used with any degree of zest on an iPad screen, it can emit a chorus of hollow-sounding taps and squeaks (especially once a nib wears down). Plus, the double-tap function, which allows users to change a tool or perform a function by lightly tapping the device, can easily be triggered accidentally.

Other Choices for iPads 

For older iPads, you’ll need the USD 99 Apple Pencil 1, which is still great, but has its own charging awkwardness: You have to either use a tiny, very losable adapter or plug it into the bottom of an iPad so that it sticks straight out.

If you’re looking to save money, I tested three different USD 70 styluses made by other companies for the iPad. The Zagg Stylus Pro and the Logitech Crayon are fine if you just want something to use for taking notes, as they lack pressure sensitivity for lively drawing. The Zagg, about the same size as the Apple Pencil 2, edges out the Logitech, which looks like a toy. For starving artists, the Adonit Note+ does feature pressure sensitivity in some apps, but feels cheap. Better start selling those NFTs!


This is the beginning of the last, but not least feature of this edition:


The Saturday Essay: Who Won the U.S.-China Trade War?

Neither country got the concessions it sought, and both damaged their economies. The real beneficiaries? Vietnam and others who stepped into the breach.

By guest authors Bob Davis and and Lingling Wei. Ms. Wei is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and Mr. Davis is a former Journal reporter. They are co-authors of the 2020 book “Superpower Showdown: How the Battle Between Trump and Xi Threatens a New Cold War.”

Between 2018 and 2020, the U.S. and China fought the biggest trade war since the 1930s, hiking tariffs, upending markets and threatening to plunge the global economy into recession. Since then, the battle has been the subject of dozens of economic studies and lots of political posturing in both countries.

Who won? Figuring out the answer is surprisingly complicated and contains important lessons for those tempted to wield tariffs like weapons.

Economists routinely say that no one wins a trade war because costs rise on all sides. If that’s the case, the U.S., which started the fight and eventually slapped steep tariffs on three-quarters of everything China sold to the U.S. to force changes in Chinese economic policy, lost by not winning.

There is plenty of evidence for a U.S. loss. During a trip to Beijing in May 2018, top Trump administration officials laid out their demands: cut the bilateral trade deficit by USD 200 billion, end subsidies for advanced technology, halt pressure on U.S. companies to hand over technology and strengthen intellectual property protection.

The list was so sweeping that Michael Pillsbury, a China expert at the Hudson Institute and a favourite of President Trump, said “it would be like the Chinese flying into Washington and telling us to change our Constitution.”

To press Beijing to comply, the administration carried out four rounds of tariff hikes, which raised average U.S. duties on Chinese goods to 21 % from 3.1 %. China retaliated with similar levies. The tariffs targeted a bigger chunk of the global economy than even the Smoot-Hawley tariffs of the 1930s, which are blamed for worsening the Great Depression, according to calculations by the economists Pablo Fajgelbaum of Princeton University and Amit Khandelwal of Columbia University.

The two sides signed a Phase One trade agreement in January 2020, which acted as a kind of truce in the trade war. But the deal left nearly all the tariffs in place, so American pressure on China has continued since then.

Even so, little changed. China fell 40% short of its commitment in the Phase One deal to buy an additional USD 200 billion of U.S. goods over two years, says Chad Bown, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. As for U.S. complaints about Chinese coercion, technology theft and other misdeeds, United States Trade Representative reports on China’s trade practices are clear: No progress. Earlier this year, USTR used nearly the same wording as in 2017, before the trade war, to describe Chinese subsidies (“caused injury to U.S. industries”), excess capacity (“world’s leading offender”) and pressure to hand over technology (“U.S. concerns…remained unresolved”).

“Clearly, they [the Chinese] haven’t changed,” says Clete Willems, a former Trump trade negotiator now at the law firm Akin Gump. “We made it more costly for them, but they are still trying their same policies,” though he thinks it’s too early to declare a trade-war winner.

Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s trade representative, who acted as the U.S. field general for the trade war, says the U.S. came out ahead in a much more important area. The battle highlighted how China had used trade to get rich at the expense of American workers, he says, and how Beijing relied on subsidies, theft and pressure on U.S. companies to get ahead. “My objective was to convince people that China is a problem—an existential threat to the U.S.,” says Mr. Lighthizer. “I think we convinced people.”

Since the trade war, fights between the two countries have only hardened attitudes. The Trump administration blamed China for covering up the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Biden administration has clashed with China over Taiwan and Russia. The Chinese leadership has accused the U.S. of hypocrisy, arrogance and trying to block China’s rise.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, 82 % of Americans now view China unfavourably, compared with 47% in 2018. A Gallup poll last year reported that 45 % of Americans view China as America’s “greatest enemy”—four times as many as made that choice in 2018.

In Washington, lawmakers compete to be seen as tough on China. The Biden administration has continued the Trump administration’s tariffs and other sanctions, though it is considering rejiggering some duties and has sought to line up allies in the fight.


Mr. Lighthizer also argues that tariffs hobbled Chinese companies by increasing their costs, particularly when coupled with restrictions the U.S. has placed on Chinese purchases of advanced technology. “We are beginning the process of getting rid of the unfair advantage they had in some areas, especially in technology,” he says.

The rift with China, coupled with later problems getting supplies from Chinese factories and ports closed because of the pandemic, has also encouraged U.S. companies to relocate from China—another U.S. goal. Nearly 80% of manufacturing executives who have operations in China have either moved part of their work to the U.S. or plan to do so in the next three years, according to a survey by Kearney, a management consulting firm.

Sometimes, though, tariffs have had the opposite effect, prompting companies to expand outside America to sell to China. BMW AG increased SUV production in China rather than export the cars from Spartanburg, S.C. after China raised its tariffs on automobiles to 40 % from 15 % as part of the trade war. “We try to match manufacturing capacities of a particular model to where the demand for that model is,” said a BMW spokeswoman.

But there is also plenty of data to show that China was the loser in the trade war because it took a bigger economic hit than the U.S., with much of the evidence compiled by Chinese economists. China’s economy is more dependent on trade for growth than the U.S., so tariffs make China more vulnerable. President Trump had that in mind, according to aides, when he would tell them the Chinese will “run out of bullets first.”

China has doubled down on the state-led economic model the Trump administration had set out to change

Chinese companies facing American tariffs exported less to the U.S., reduced hiring, spent less on research and development and were less likely to start new firms, according to economists at Peking University, Fudan University and other leading Chinese universities. Overall, China’s GDP loss was three times as high as the U.S., estimates Yang Zhou, a Fudan university economist who did her research at the University of Minnesota.

Recognizing that China’s official statistics might be subject to what they termed “manipulation and censoring,” Dartmouth College economist Davin Chor and University of Hong Kong economist Bingjing Li studied satellite imagery of the nighttime sky in China. Industrial areas subject to tariffs were noticeably less luminous than areas that weren’t, indicating a reduction in economic activity. Per capita income declined 2.5 % in the tariffed areas, they estimate, compared with unaffected areas.

“Overall, the trade war reveals to have negative impact on firms and job seekers in China,” write Chuan He of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Mingzhi Xu of Peking University and Karsten Mau of Maastricht University.

Similar to the U.S., though, political leaders in China argue that the trade war paid them important political dividends. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to sign the Phase One deal, even though the U.S. only slightly reduced tariffs, because he was pursuing higher priority policies, say officials with knowledge of the leadership’s thinking.

Beijing figured the deal would give it leverage: If Washington pushed too hard, Beijing could threaten to scrap the trade deal. When Washington did little beyond rhetoric to defend the autonomy of Hong Kong in the summer of 2020 after Beijing imposed a wide-ranging national security law, Chinese leaders counted their strategy as a success.

Charlene Barshefsky, President Clinton’s former trade representative, also thinks that Beijing came out ahead politically. “They did not change their economic model one iota, reinforcing to Xi Jinping that their economic model can withstand even aggression by the United States,” she says. Chinese exports to the U.S., for instance, have rebounded to pre-trade war levels, though much of the export gains are in products like mobile phones, laptops and toys, which weren’t hit by tariffs, says Mr. Bown, the Peterson Institute economist.

Overall, Chinese officials believe the trade war hurt the U.S. more than it has hurt China, pointing to the heightened inflationary pressure as a result of American tariffs on Chinese products. Inflation is now presenting a powerful threat to the Biden administration as November midterm elections approach. “Tariffs are a poisonous legacy of the last administration that this administration should remove,” says a senior Chinese trade official.

The trade war also reinforced to Beijing the need to reduce its reliance on American technology—a longtime Chinese goal. To that end, China has doubled down on the state-led economic model the Trump administration had set out to change.

Chinese authorities increased their use of subsidies—including cash infusions, discounted loans and cheap land—to try to dominate high-technology industries. In addition to the state-owned companies the government typically helps, last year Beijing pledged at least $1.5 billion in the coming five years to support more than 1,000 smaller, privately held firms, dubbed “little giant” startups. As part of that push, China last year published guidelines directing hospitals and other state entities to reserve for domestic firms between 25% and 100% of their purchases of technology items like medical equipment and imaging tools.

Weighing whether China or the U.S. came out ahead in the trade war is an exercise in counting gains and losses. But some countries had nothing but wins; they started exporting to the U.S. goods that China once sold. “Any time we impose tariffs on a single country, countries that can provide substitutes will ramp up,” explains Dartmouth economic historian Douglas Irwin.

Who won the U.S.-China trade war? In many respects, it’s been Vietnam.

According to calculations by Kearney, China shipped USD 50 billion less in manufactured goods to the U.S. in 2021 than it did in 2018, as tariffs increased the cost of Chinese imports. During that same time, Vietnam—free from those U.S. tariffs—increased its factory goods shipments to the U.S. by USD 50 billion. Looked at from another angle, exports of manufactured goods from 14 low-cost Asian nations, including China, tracked by Kearney, increased by USD 90 billion in 2021 compared with 2018. Vietnam accounted for about half that increase.

Vietnam had become a manufacturing hub well before the trade war. Following the path pioneered by other export-heavy Asian countries, Vietnam welcomed foreign investment, improved its infrastructure and benefited from being close geographically to China and paying cheaper wages.





Vietnam’s early export successes were in labor-intensive industries like apparel and furniture, but it has now become a center for electronics manufacturing too, with big investments by Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. The U.S.-China trade war accelerated that change, say economists.

“Vietnam positioned itself well to take advantage of the crises that occurred,” says Trinh Nguyen, a Natixis economist in Hong Kong. The trade war was one such crisis.

Alex Shuford, the CEO of RHF Investments Inc., a furniture maker in Hickory, N.C., shifted his orders for leather couches to Vietnam from China after the tariffs made Chinese imports too expensive. During a recent scouting trip to Asia, he didn’t bother to stop in China because prices there were still too high, and the country was going through another set of Covid lockdowns. “Some years ago, we would have started in China,” he says.

Additional export revenue helped Vietnam to build up its industrial parks, ports and roads and attract higher-paying industries like electronics. According to Moody’s Analytics, a market data firm, 46% of Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. now consist of electrical machinery, three times the percentage as before the trade war. Lower-value textile and apparel shipments also increased but at a much slower rate.

Over this period, America’s trade deficit with Vietnam also exploded nearly threefold to USD 90 billion. During the Trump administration, that gap attracted the attention of Mr. Lighthizer, who launched two investigations into Vietnamese trade practices that could have resulted in tariffs.

But the Biden administration, which sees Vietnam as a potential ally in its competition with China, ended both those probes. It now seeks Hanoi’s participation in a pan-Asian trade effort it is launching: a win for Vietnam and a win for the U.S.

Still, the changes have hardly left China out in the cold. Chinese manufacturers also rushed to set up operations in Vietnam. More than half the fresh exports from Vietnam to the U.S. during the trade war originated from Chinese-owned factories, estimates Patrick Van den Bossche, a Kearney partner. Since 2017, Chinese investment in Vietnam more than doubled to USD 1.9 billion in 2020.

Luxshare Precision Industry Co., a supplier of components to Apple Inc. and other American companies, was one of many Chinese firms to cite U.S. tariffs as a reason to expand in Vietnam. In 2019, Luxshare announced it would build four factories in Vietnam. So far it has invested more than USD 3 billion there and plans to eventually shift one-third of its production to Vietnam.

The trend worries officials in Luxshare’s home base of Shenzhen, in southern China, which counts on high-technology firms for a big chunk of its tax revenues. “Relocation of production capacity is a big issue for us,” said a Shenzhen official.

In yet another wrinkle in the trade war, Shenzhen is now focusing even more on domestic technology development to free itself from dependence on American suppliers. It is offering preferential tax, funding and other policies for entrepreneurs, along with generous grants to universities and other institutions to encourage them to team up with companies and pursue leading-edge technology—the kinds of subsidies the U.S. had set out to dismantle.

Mr. Chor, the Dartmouth economist who studied satellite images of China’s nighttime sky for clues about the impact of the trade war, says that the debate over who won and who lost will continue. “We’ll be talking about this in 25 years’ time and 50 years’ time,” he says.








Newsletter of last week

State of Fashion Technology Report 2022 – How Many Friends Do You Really Need? – An American Moment in an Australian Campaign – Is travel making a comeback?

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