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Wayfair cuts 5 percent of workforce, Brad Pitt pays up for faulty homes and more

This week in design, ruffles are having a comeback, and chintz aficionados are weighing in on why exactly they get a “thrill from frills.” Whatever happens next, stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading and more.

Business News
Wayfair announced last week that it would be cutting 5 percent of its global workforce—a total of 870 jobs—in an effort to reduce operating expenses. As CNN reports, CEO Niraj Shah attributed the layoffs to the company’s internal growth in response to the pandemic’s e-commerce boom—activity that has stalled in recent months as online buying has waned. The news comes off the back of a rough quarter for the retailer, which saw sales decline 15 percent year over year for the second quarter as the platform also lost 24 percent of its active customers. Meanwhile, other major retailers have also been pushed to downsize as a result of declining consumer spending, with Walmart eliminating roughly 200 management jobs recently and Best Buy cutting positions in stores across the U.S.

Actor Brad Pitt has agreed to pay a $20.5 million settlement after homes constructed by his now defunct Make It Right Foundation housing charity were found to have water leaks, black mold and foundation issues, Dezeen reports. The foundation was established in 2005 by Pitt, architect William McDonough and Los Angeles–based studio Graft Architects with the goal of creating 150 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. A variety of prominent architects were tapped to design the structures, including Frank Gehry, David Adjaye and Shigeru Ban, though reports of health hazards and structural issues came flooding in soon after residents began moving into the homes in 2009. Legal proceedings against the nonprofit began in 2018 and will conclude as money from the settlement is distributed through the California-based nonprofit Global Green, which also has ties to Pitt.

Furniture companies Ethan Allen, House of Markor and Rowe (a division of House of Markor) have been named on a recently published list of global corporations believed to be utilizing the forced labor of the Uyghur population in the manufacturing of their products. As reported by Home News Now, the list was created by the human rights organization Jewish World Watch and cites 800 different companies, including name brands like Goodyear, Tesla, Nike, Coca-Cola and General Electric, along with House of Markor and Ethan Allen (neither responded to HNN’s request for comment). JWW compiled its research based on company supplier lists, government documents and independent investigative efforts—its findings claim that 45 percent of the world’s supply of polysilicon (used in solar panels) is made by Uyghur forced labor. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Region of Xinjiang in China where the Uyghur population is based produces 85 percent of the world’s cotton, causing human rights…

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