What Were Rah-Rah Skirts?

In our article about the History of the Mini Skirt, we’ve mentioned that the rah-rah skirt was a hot fashion trend during the 1980s, and it was one of the successful attempts in bringing back the miniskirt. The miniskirt is actually an old idea whose time has come again thanks to two designers who have reworked it to make good-humored, youthful clothes that look nothing like the sixties versions. 

But what were rah-rah skirts really? If you have the same question in mind, you’re in the right place. Today, we are giving you more information about the rah-rah skirt. 

What is a Rah-Rah Skirt?

A rah-rah or ra-ra skirt is a short, flounced layered skirt that originated in cheerleading. It has become an iconic fashion trend among teenage girls during the early 1980s. With this, it was regarded as the first successful attempt to bring back the miniskirt that was introduced in the mid-1960s. 

In the 1980s, the rah-rah skirt was usually worn with leather, lace, or denim. When the 1990s came, the mini came back into fashion, largely removing the frills of the rah-rah. But it did return in Britain in 2008 when 80s look was all the ra-rave. Some examples of the rah-rah skirt can be seen on the covers of gramophone records and compact discs like Since Yesterday by Switchblade and 99 Red Balloons by Nena. 

Why Is It Called Rah-Rah Skirt?

You might be wondering why it is named the “rah-rah” skirt. Some might even think that there’s a story behind it or a deeper meaning. However, its name is fairly simple. The term rah-rah is a reduplication of an abbreviation for “hurrah,” which is used as a synonym for “cheering.” Since it is mostly worn and used by cheerleaders back in the 1980s, they were named “rah-rah” skirts. 

Who Created the Rah-Rah Skirt?

colorful rah-rah skirts

The rah-rah skirt was originally created by fashion designers Angela Stone and Gifi Fields. They based the idea of the skirt on creating a tutu, which is a dress worn by ballerinas, using heavier fabric. 

But there was also another designer of the skirt in the United States named Norma Kamali based on a 1982 newspaper article from the Guardian. Her miniskirt version was based on the flirty little skirts sported by leggy American cheerleaders and was called the ra-ra skirt. The skirt is made of good-quality cotton and acrylic sweatshirt fabric that was known for reasons of shortness, not for elegance but for sweat. 

When Robert Forrest and Joan Burstein of Browns saw the ra-ra skirts, they began importing them. The ra-ra skirts have become the most copied garments since Quant first put the miniskirt on sale in Kings Road. The skirts were simple, which made them become popular fast. However, like all great ideas, the use of sweatshirt fabric in making miniskirts suddenly seem obvious, and the only surprise is that no one thought about it sooner. 

Kamali grew up in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side. When she was young, her mother taught her eye and encouraged her imagination by her capability to make anything from anything. Based on reports, she was a posy little girl who would go to school in eight skirts worn on top of each other and pressed and starched to stick out as far as possible.

Conclusion

Rah-rah skirts are indeed interesting pieces of fashionable clothing. They were made to mimic the skirts worn by cheerleaders and other women who joined sporting events. In the present time, even though these skirts were made to be worn for sports or for leisure, they have also found their way into the business world. In fact, many women began wearing them as part of their work uniform. 

In addition to miniskirts, there are many other styles of skirts that you can find today, like long skirts. And if you’d also like to learn more about skirts in general, you can also read our article about The History of Skirts, to have an idea how it has started to enter the world of fashion.

We hope this article helped you in learning more about the rah-rah skirt. The next time you see a cheerleader wearing one, you now know more about its popularity.