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Must Read: 'Essence''s New Owner Has Big Ambitions for the Magazine, Estée Laundry Is the Beauty Industry's Unofficial Watchdog

Plus, the personal-care category is getting more beautiful thanks to Instagram.
Sonequa Martin-Green on a digital cover of "Essence." Photo: Derek Reed

Sonequa Martin-Green on a digital cover of "Essence." Photo: Derek Reed

These are the stories making headlines in fashion on Friday.

Essence's new owner has big ambitions for the magazine 
Beauty entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis acquired Essence from Time Inc. at the end of 2017, with the goal of turning the publication into a giant platform upon which to serve the Black community. "It wasn't, 'Hey, let's go run a magazine company better,'" Dennis tells Business of Fashion. "The magazine is actually irrelevant, it's the community." Dennis's strategy for the media company includes ambitious plans for refreshed content online and in print, plans for new video series, six new podcasts, a rebranded e-commerce platform, expanded event series and a membership for engaged readers. {Business of Fashion

Estée Laundry is the beauty industry's unofficial watchdog 
Estée Laundry is to beauty what Diet Prada is to fashion: Both Instagram accounts flag copycat behavior, as well as cultural appropriation, lack of diversity and unsubstantiated product claims from major brands. Estée Laundry, however, is run by an anonymous collective who work in the beauty industry, either full- or part-time and pride themselves on a no ad policy. The Guardian spoke with members of the collective about the importance and dangers of call-out culture and why they choose to stay anonymous. {The Guardian

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The personal-care category is getting more beautiful thanks to Instagram 
Personal-care products, like razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste, were once seen as functional necessities — bought with little thought given to aesthetics. But in the past year, a new wave of personal-care brands has cropped up, touting stylish iterations of medicine cabinet essentials. "The elevation of the personal-care category is indicative of a shift in consumer thinking, driven by wellness culture and social media," writes Ellen Thomas for WWD. "Young consumers in particular — Instagram-ready at all times and ingredient-conscious — are primed to spend more time thinking about (and spend more money on) items that were once considered a little boring and basic." {WWD

Naomi Campbell wants African-based designers to reach the international fashion arena
At the Condé Nast Luxury Conference in Cape Town, Naomi Campbell spoke alongside Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri about the fashion house's recently launched initiative for diversity and inclusion, as well as the wealth of untapped design talent from Africa. "I do believe that an African designer is going to walk away with the LVMH Prize this year," says Campbell. "Instead of having Western designers use African designer's textiles and not get it right, let them do it, give them the credit." {British Vogue}  

Warby Parker's co-founder and co-CEO on honing its message 
The co-founders of Warby Parker wanted their eyeglass company to become known for its ambitious social initiative, but customers were never as motivated by this mission as the startup was. As a result, the company promotes the style and fit of the glasses first, the affordable price point and quality of the frames second and its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program third. Even though its philanthropic work is not a big selling point, Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, says its important that the company doesn't eliminate its social message from branding, in hopes that it will "inspire other entrepreneurs and executives to invest more in mission-related work." {Inc.}  

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