"Depression Chic" On Catwalk To The Past

As the economy continues to falter, some companies are looking for inspiration from America's toughest financial times to turn a profit. CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reports.

Food lines, business closings, shantytowns, the iconic images of the economic crisis of the 1930s.

But in today's tough times, some folks are finding the Great Depression pays.

Andrew Shaffer began designing his depression-themed greeting cards in October as banks were being bailed out and Americans plunged deeper into recession.

"We just see a lot of doom and gloom in the media. The cards actually take that straight on. They tackle the issue. They say 'Hey, look, things are not as bad as they could be, or they're not as bad as they were in the 1930s,'" Shaffer said.

Shaffer says his sales have doubled since introducing the "Depressing Times" line since his cards send a message about the world today.

"It's about getting back to basics and about what matters to people. All these sorts of values like integrity and service and stuff that really seemed to have not mattered for many years, frankly. And the Great Depression sort of signifies a return to that," Shaffer said.

Designer John Patrick has also struck pay dirt with his spring 2009 line actually called "American Gothic," which has brought the dust bowl to the runway.

"One of our best selling items right now is the prairie print blouse. It has a very vintage, romantic feeling. That, I think, is the idea, that when you put something on, it makes you feel good. People want a lot of that right now, feeling good. You put it on and it is almost like a pick me up," Patrick said.

"We see that in times of prosperity, people will oftentimes look forward. And in times of economic downturn, as we're seeing right now, that there's a tendency to reflect back on the past," said Nancy Upton, a psychologist at Northeastern University.

While depression-themed trends may be chic, at least one item created at the height of the depression is still thriving. Monopoly, started in 1935, still has plenty of people playing with money.

As toy sales slipped 3 percent last year, board games like Monopoly made strong profits, up 6 percent in 2008. More than 200 million sets of Monopoly have already been sold. And Hasbro says today the game is more relevant than ever.

"It's the continued fantasy of operating in a world where you can buy real estate, and you can develop. It's the opportunity for that sort of social interaction with your family group, and at the end of the day, there's always a lot of fun to be had in playing with large stacks of money and for a moment pretending that you're rich and you have it in your power to buy all these buildings and these estates," said Steven Baker of Hasbro Toys.

At a time when this is so hard to come by, you get to hold on to a little bit.

"Exactly," Baker said.
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