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Other than madly scrambling to stay afloat, what should fashion designers be doing during a recession? The Washington Post's Robin Givhan considers this question in the wake of this fall's Fashion Weeks. "Designers seem to be responding to the economic crisis as if it were any other kind of social tumult. They are proceeding under the theory that beauty, artistry and, thus, fashion will be perceived as acts of defiance in the face of assault. They hope that the fabulously dressed will serve as beacons of hope and optimism. Might a $10,000 beaded Balmain blazer with linebacker shoulders be applauded as some kind of prêt-à-porter mental bailout? This is the philosophy designers have always bet on in downturns. In the past it has worked. But times have changed." [WP]