The humble hoodie : whether you wear it as sportswear, loungewear, or one of your favorite fashion items, chances are there's at least one in your wardrobe. But how did this casual comfort item become so ubiquitous in our closets and popular culture? The origins of the hoodie date back to the 12th century. However, this is not an academic essay, but a contemporary and informal history of the hoodie, from the realm of sports to the fashion runways of the world, to our beloved hoodies of today.
MADE FOR CHAMPIONS :We'll start where the hoodie as we know it began, in the 1930s. A burgeoning sportswear company in Rochester, upstate New York, founded by brothers Abraham and William Feinbloom, developed proto-hoodies. The company was called Champion Knitting Mills Inc. They later shortened their name to Champion. Does that sound familiar? Today, Champion is mentioned in the same breath as streetwear brands like OtherLinks and Supreme.
Ingenuity can lead to longevity in the fashion world. The first hoodies Champion made were not designed for style or comfort, but rather for functionality. For Champion, hoodies were simply protection from the elements for American soccer players. The oversized garments were meant to be worn over the athletes' gear. The hoodies prevented heat from escaping the players' bodies between games. This heat-trapping function is the reason for the elastic cuffs and bottom hem that you still see on hoodies today.
HOLLYWOOD HOODIES :When something shows up in a big way in fashion culture and culture in general, it often reflects in our entertainment. When a phenomenon appears in big screen Hollywood movies, it becomes an even bigger factor in current events. The sweatshirt phenomenon exploded in 1976 with the release of two films: "Marathon Man", starring Dustin Hoffman, and the iconic blockbuster "Rocky".
The year 1982 would see the birth of another Hollywood hoodie (a Hoodiewood?) with Steven Spielberg's "E.T. the Alien". Seriously, who hasn't wanted to have a red zip-up hoodie like Elliot's? By the mid-1980s, the hoodie was well on its way to becoming a wardrobe staple. But it still had a ways to go before reaching its current peak of popularity.
HIP-HOP HAS ARRIVEDWithout a doubt, rap and hip-hop have had a greater cultural impact than any other form of music since rock and roll first appeared on the scene. Just like rock, hip-hop has its own dress code. Rappers and graffiti artists prefer to dress in sportswear. The work of these same artists would inspire the current culture of streetwear brands like OtherLinks, which has strong street art influences. The connection between sports, hip-hop and street and sportswear clothing is explained in part by the escapism and aspiration factor: wearing sportswear and dressing like a professional athlete signals the success of a professional player.
The iconography of hoodies in hip-hop includes the 1992 film "Juice," in which the legendary Tupac Shakur appears in a champion hoodie throughout the film, the cover of the Wu-Tang Clan's first album "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)" and the cover of MF Doom's 1999 album "Operation Doomsday." These basics have really been democratized with the hip hop fashion. These comfortable and casual sweatshirts are available in a quantity of colors and textile materials (organic cotton, dark blue, green-khaki, brown, elastane, dark gray, light gray, polar, dark, stripes, bicolor, fleece, knit, navy blue...). Very trendy, the men's sweatshirt is evolving into a message sweatshirt initially designed for men but now also available in a unisex zip-up version or as a women's sweatshirt. It had to present a more adjusted cut for a relaxed look all the same.
HOODIES IN HIGH FASHION
In the U.S., it was Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger who took the hoodie from college campuses and military bases to high-end fashion. Vivienne Westwood's Buffalo Girls/Nostalgia of Mud show in 1982 introduced the first hoodies ever worn on the high fashion runways in Europe. The show wowed audiences in London and Paris. Since then, hoodies have appeared regularly on the catwalks of Fashion Weeks around the world.
One of the most notable recent runway appearances of hoodies was Raf Simmons' 2002 summer collection. His black hoodie design looks stripped down at first glance. But on closer inspection, you realize how he exaggerated and hijacked what is considered a simple wardrobe item. The embroidery has made its way onto this item, as has the stand-up collar or the round neck, whether it's zipped up like a jacket or wearing prints.
THE STREETWEAR INVASIONA simple hashtag search for "fashion" on Instagram will present you with the latest looks permeating the current culture. The majority of them are from the streetwear wave. What started as a fashion edition for punks and skateboarders is now the most coveted couture. Hoodies are an integral part of this populist yet exclusive fashion subset. Today, a hoodie can cost hundreds of dollars when branded by a label like Supreme. Even OtherLinks offers sweatshirts made from luxury materials like cashmere, which add a touch of whimsy to what most people consider a basic wardrobe. Today, luxury brands are piling up.
A quick visit to Gucci's website will reveal hoodies at a pretty steep price. Even LV has decided to get down to street level with their partnership with Supreme. The "humble hoodie" is now the "high fashion hoodie". The streetwear hoodie, sweater, tracksuit, zip-up sweatshirt, jogging suit, jacket or even jeans have been dethroned by hoodies. The revolution of its kangaroo pocket has also met with great success since its inception. It can be placed in the same streetwear category as the T-shirt, whether it is embroidered, oversized, short sleeve, sleeveless or long sleeve. There are also a number of items such as polo shirts or cardigans, but you will have understood that, despite their success, none of them can compete with the urban style and the particular neckline of the streetwear sweatshirt called hoodie today.
The hoodie has a long history. Its success is undoubtedly due to the fact that it represents a casual and accessible fashion. It can be worn with any pants and all cuts (high waist, straight cut, skinny, slim, fitted ...) or even skirt (available for women as well as for men). You must have a hoodie in your dressing room, next to your sneakers, and that's good, because it has not finished pleasing.