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What Do Long Denim Skirts Say About the Economy?

It's complicated.

Fashion trends are rarely accidental. Consider the popularity of Bridgerton and the rise of Regencycore, or people’s embrace of dopamine dressing after escaping the confines of COVID-related lockdowns. And the latest trend breaking the internet — the denim maxi-skirt — is no exception.

If you’ve been on TikTok recently, your feed has undoubtedly been flooded with this long jean skirt. As a result, it’s been near impossible to find one at Mango, Zara or H&M, as the fast-fashion retailers can’t seem to keep them in stock. Even before that, the long denim skirt returned triumphantly from Y2K obscurity, becoming a designer must during the Spring 2023 runway shows at Diesel, Acne, Balenciaga and MM6 Maison Margiela.

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It would be easy to write off the trend as an extension of the aughts revival. Another simple solution would be to see it as a reaction to the micro-mini that made headlines last year — after all, what goes up must come down. But could the rise of denim maxi-skirts actually be connected to the economy? The Hemline Index suggests yes.

@quicktake #GDP, the #stockmarket and #unemployment are all things many economists look at to determine if a #recession is coming. But here are some more unorthodox indicators of an upcoming contraction. #economy #finance #money ♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K

For those unfamiliar, the popular concept proposes that when the economy does well, like, say, in the Roaring Twenties, hemlines rise to match the carefree and prosperous mood of the time. But lengths tend to drop during recessions or great depressions, reflecting a more sombre mood.

Now, take this information with a grain of salt. Since its inception nearly 100 years ago, the Hemline Index has gotten a few things wrong. In the fifties, for example, when the world came out of war and into economic prosperity, Christian Dior famously lowered hemlines to create the now iconic New Look. By the 1990s, subcultures reigned supreme, and the Internet made it impossible for one silhouette to dominate pop culture.

However, based on the trends we’ve experienced in the 2020s, it’s possible that the theory still holds some merit. When we were all locked at home baking sourdough bread, ankle-grazing “cottagecore” dresses rose in popularity. When we were allowed out and optimistically thought everything would return to normal, the micro-mini became the “it” skirt of the season. And now, as the proverbial dust has seemingly settled and the recession is in full swing, long denim skirts are ruling the runways and the streets. Coincidence? I think not.

So whether you choose to believe this new trend is part of a bigger sociological scheme or just another TikTok fad born from content creators’ Y2K obsession, this is one addition to your online cart you won’t return. Click through our gallery below to shop some new denim maxi-skirts for the Spring 2023 season.


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