Friday, October 27, 2006

1960s: Hemlines and the Stock Market!





Here’s a fun post for my readers. The newsletter was sent out by Harris Upham, Inc., a stock brokerage firm, in May, 1967. My roommate at the time was working as a trader for the firm, and brought home the newsletter for me to see – since I was in the fashion industry. Hemlengths were a big fashion discussion topic in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether you believe it or not, these brokers really did believe that there was a relationship between the two. A newsletter one month later had Ralph Rotnam, a stock analyst for Harris Upham, saying that “as a barometer this chart is 100% correct.” Here is what the 1967 newsletter says:
“For some time there has been a suspicion in Wall Street that the stock market and the hemlines of women’s skirts move in the same direction. To find out if this was true we sent our textile and apparel researcher, Foy Roberson, to the library to make a detailed study. The results are shown on the chart on page one. From the days of street-sweeping skirts in 1897 to the days of Twiggy in 1967 the market is up 2100% in value. And as the chart shows the hemline changes and the direction of the market have been amazingly parallel. Perhaps we should be listening more carefully to the planning in Paris. Someone has called this a “Mini Market”. There are mini skirts, a mini recession and mini stocks.”

I used this later in the 1980s, when teaching about fashion marketing, production, and trends. I explained that a lot of fashion trends have to do with “collective social emotions”. And those affect general business, stocks, politics, etc., as well as fashion trends.

We’re getting some fashion people from other parts of the country joining us in “Fashion Product Development Meetup” on our “Live Chat”, which will be in a few days. Go to:
http://fashion.meetup.com/221/
It’s going to be a great Virtual, 21st century, Web 2.0 experience.

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