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Rich, Influential And Poorly Dressed: Powerful Men Have A New Uniform

One of the best memes of this year is undoubtedly the photo of Justin Bieber turned into a caricature of himself, wearing yellow Crocs and tracksuit bottoms combined with a sweatshirt and a pink Nahmias cap. And next to him is his wife, Hailey Bieber, looking flawless in an impeccable red strapless Ermanno Scervino mini dress.

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber and Hailey Bieber in New York in August 2023. Gotham (GC Images)

In the image, Justin Bieber is the personification of the scumbro trend, defined by Vanity Fair columnist Kenzie Bryant, who put together the words “scum” and “bro.” This trend defines the aesthetics of celebrities such as Pete Davidson, Tom Holland and Machine Gun Kelly. What defines this hectic style is an absolute lack of aesthetic coherence; they want us to know that they walked out of their houses wearing the first thing they saw in their closets. What is often striking (and incomprehensible) is that scumbros usually have a partner (like Hailey Bieber) who looks exactly the opposite; their outfits are neat, stylish.

“The strategy, in the end, is that celebrity couples dress alike, something that is accentuated when there are brands involved,” Leticia García, chief fashion editor of the fashion magazine SModa, says. “Everything is marketing, and the construction of the celebrity image is nothing more than advertising. The next step is the construction of the image of the couple, something that seems to me to be a way of stripping people of [their] self-identity.”

Looking disheveled on purpose

Going out looking messy and untidy — compared to one’s partner — is a strategy to attract attention, according to Pedro Mansilla, a sociologist, journalist and fashion critic. This is particularly true when we talk about celebrity couples, Mansilla adds. Famous men tend to do it when they are dating “women who have achieved notoriety on their own merits.”

Pete Davidson
Pete Davidson dressed to go to a premiere in 2022. Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

Mansilla points out that this happens primarily in heterosexual couples and adds that it could be due to the so-called bad boy attraction, with his characteristic sins: carelessness, unpunctuality, laziness, etc. There is nothing more attractive than a guy who — due to his status, and thus, power — can dress whichever way he wants, says Mansilla. In other words, according to this new trend (very ad hoc with the Silicon Valley power players who went from nerds to billionaires at the beginning of this century), for a powerful man, nothing is more exciting and vindicating than to dress as if he were powerless.

This style is, in fact, the result of an aesthetic decision. Actor Adam Sandler considers himself, perhaps, the last great purist of the scumbro style, someone who dresses this way out of sheer carelessness. When asked in an interview how he would define his aesthetic, he replied: “A man who opened a suitcase and threw something on.” The difference between Sandler and others — such as Justin Bieber or Pete Davidson — is that he is probably the only one who dresses this way in the most natural way possible. Nowadays, scumbros wear streetstyle brands such as Palace and Supreme, as well as clothing from big brands l Gucci, Versace, and Prada. Their style is more about being perfectly imperfect.

Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler well-dressed for the release of his own movie in 2022. Dia Dipasupil (Getty Images)

Proof that whoever dresses like this does not do it out of laziness, but with absolute intention, is that when a user wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that Diplo was starting to “look like a dude that sells you bad weed on the Venice boardwalk,” the musician posted a screenshot of the tweet on his Instagram profile along with the caption “Goals achieved.” Even Esquire magazine published an article in which it pointed out that celebrities dress “like teenage weed dealers.”

Brands like Balenciaga and Acne Studio have seized on this supposedly chaotic aesthetic. And, as Kyle Dinkjian — who runs the Instagram account JonahFits, which analyzes Jonah Hill’s looks — explained to The Wall Street Journal, this style inspires men who “don’t look like movie stars to get into their own fashion and make it their own.”

“People are tired of the ‘everything goes’” mentality, Pedro Mansilla counters. “Uglysm still dominates, but the sartorial order will prevail at some point. The anti-establishment style is showing signs of fatigue. The dandy is starting to come out of the closet,” he adds.

A new type of narcissist

But do these men really not care about their style at all? “When someone claims that fashion is banal and superfluous, it’s a sure sign that they are a person who thinks they are above the rest,” says García. “People dress not only as a way of expressing themselves, but also out of respect for others.” We must differentiate here, however, between two types of scumbros. One of them is Justin Bieber, who knows about fashion, has been nourished by it and has collaborated, in fact, with big brands such as Calvin Klein. His scumbro style is actually worth thousands of dollars. On the opposite side of the spectrum is something like Adam Sandler, who many Internet users defend for being someone who dresses according to his comfort and his own style. He is true to himself. Authentic.

Pete Davidson
Pete Davidson dressed to go on television in 2021.NBC (NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

“A trained eye should always distinguish those who don’t care how they are dressed from those who do care, but pretend they don’t,” Mansilla explains. “These are the most interesting because, in principle, they set the upward trend. We have become so bored with seeing the integrated that we wish to see the apocalyptic, to use Umberto Eco’s terminology.”

It seems that stylistic laziness is less and less about laziness and more and more about strategy, especially when a closer look at their closets reveals that every garment and accessory is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. If silent luxury has taught us that even the most basic white T-shirt can be a sign of social status, styles like scumbro are not precisely symptoms of passivity, but of careful decisions. Today’s narcissist has mutated: he is no longer just Christian Bale in American Psycho, he has also been spotted wearing sweatpants, a Hawaiian shirt and Crocs.


Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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