There are many different ways to look at a hood. It can be a fashion statement, a social statement or maybe you’re just trying to keep warm.
The hoodie was first introduced by Champion in the early 1930’s, as a garment connected to the sweatshirts of athletes and laborers, in order to protect them from the outdoor elements. The hoodie was predominantly popular among athletes, especially high school athletes with their school’s sportswear. This opened the door to the fashionable hoodie. Starting in the 1950’s, it was traditional that high school athletes give their sportswear to their girlfriends and high school sweethearts. As is true with many fast growing trends, this one rooted with teenagers at high school. Soon enough, sportswear became very fashionable, including the hoodie.
However, in the early 1970’s, the hoodie made the transformation from fashion item to social statement. The process began in New York City, where the hip hop culture was on the rise, along with gang related crime, inner city violence and drugs. The urban graffiti artists of the time would use the hoodie to cover their identity while they would illegally spray the city with color. Also, the hoodie became very popular among the inner city muggers, concealing their identity while lurking on the street corner, waiting for their next victim. At this same time period, the surfers and skateboarders of south California also made the hoodie very popular. Like the inner city African-Americans, the skateboarding youth was also considered delinquent and rebellion.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s the social dislike of these groups had grown, along with a sense of pride from these groups. To no surprise, this newfound pride came forth through music, as gangsta rap and punk rock represented the inner city ghetto and the skaters respectively. Because of this, the hoodie found its way into the music and entertainment industry, quickly becoming very popular among youth globally.
Today, hoodies can be found everywhere. They are still an intricate part of the “social rebellion”, still closely associated with rock, rap, skaters and gangsters alike. Hoodies have also stayed true to its original use, as athletes and sportswear companies thrive off the winter merchandise sales. In addition, high-end fashion has incorporated the hoodie in various different styles, for men and women alike. The latest group in society to fully adopt the hoodie is the tech group. As start-ups have grown away from the classic business dress code to casual and comfortable everyday clothing, the hoodie has become a mainstay in the industry. This can be best seen by Mark Zuckerberg, who met with Wall Street investors while wearing jeans and a hoodie-sweatshirt, causing national debate on the matter.
Whether you like it or not, no denying the fact that the hoodie is not only clothing, but a symbol, and it’s probably not going to change anytime soon.