Recession Dressing - Designer Denim

Can someone please explain to me this whole designer denim trend?

It's not just the gorgeous Jessica Biel modeling designer denim by Ralph Lauren on the front cover of Vogue.
She models depression era worthy Ralph Lauren denim patchwork overalls in the feature article.
We are seeing more denim patchwork clothes on the runway with a distinct lowbrow look.

On the high end we've got Dolce & Gabbana denim handbags at Neiman Marcus for $1295

Is this some kind nostalgia for the great depression or some kind of 1970's recession based style signifying that we are ready to go to work?
What's your theory?