The hemline index: Can fashion predict the rises and falls of the stock exchange market?

It is a well established theory in the fashion industry that hemline trends go hand in hand with the rises and falls of stock prices. When the economy is booming, hemlines of skirts and dresses go up, contrary to when the economy does bad, where hemlines go down to match the feeling of dullness and empty bank accounts.


If we take a closer look at the hemline history, it is easy to deduce that skirt lengths get shorter when the economy is prosperous. For instance, flappers and their shorter skirts started to make an appearance for the first time in the 1920s, it was a revolutionary event for fashion history, as never before had women showed that much skin on an
outfit. This took an 180 degree turn after the wall street crash, when the economy was at its lowest in the states.


The photograph below are two extracts from the delineator magazine, taken one year apart, before and after the recession.


In the 1960’s when America’s economy was finally blooming again, the
famous Mary Quant’s mini skirts were born. The economy was doing
well, and Americans were all up for it, hoping to enjoy it with daring
looks such as the mini skirt.


Years later, in 1987, the theory proved to be true with the popping up of midi skirts,
skirts that go midway between the knee and the foot. This trend
came hand in hand with the stock market crash of 87.


Because of the strong relationship between both factors,
economists have developed the hemline index theory, to such
extents that some even fear a possible recession if Zara or other giants in the industry feature long-hemmed dresses and skirts in their new collections.


However, even though there is a lot of supporting evidence, this is just a theory that many disapprove of. To what point is this really true? Wouldn’t a splurge of clothing and good quality fabrics indicate a wealthier position?


Carmen Corchado Hornedo

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemline_index
https://www.instyle.com/fashion/clothing/what-is-the-hemline-index-real
https://witness2fashion.wordpress.com/tag/short-skirts-1920s/
https://fashionunited.uk/news/culture/mary-quant-queen-of-the-mini-skirt/2019040342529

Photograph 1:
https://www.instyle.com/fashion/clothing/what-is-the-hemline-index-real
Photograph 2:
https://fashionunited.uk/news/culture/mary-quant-queen-of-the-mini-skirt/2019040342529

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