In early 2001, fashion in the United States featured a dark and conservative tone, but changed to printed patterns, softer fabrics and black and white apparel following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Reflecting society's emotional response to the terrorist attacks and gloomy outlook for the economy, fashion designers replaced militaristic clothing featuring dark black and green tones for cheery, soft colors to lift consumers' spirits and encourage spending.
Fashion designers and retailers around the world felt the effects of a slowing economy in 2001, even before September arrived. Companies of all varieties, including those mass-producing consumer goods, like Gap and high-end designers, experienced reduced consumer spending. In the spring and summer months of 2001, retailers introduced urban assault clothing for men and women in the form of military jackets, pants and sweaters. Prominent designer Michael Kors finished his line of women's clothing with studs; small silver designs decorated platform shoes, belts, bikini bottoms and skirts. However, the fashion industry revised its look of the season in October, 2001. Designers reached back to happier times in American history and unveiled flirty clothing from the 1950s for women, reminiscent of the carefree days of that era. Designers also introduced clothes in the comfortable and neutral colors of black and white, and rolled out furs and lush fabrics to encourage consumer spending during the winter months following the attacks.