UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s notorious advice that we should all ‘hug a hoodie’ has been much publicised and discussed. After the London riots it has come under scrutiny again. Hoodies, certainly among the older generation, have evolved all sorts of negative connotations. Many young people, however, do not understand why this should be so.
For many totally law-abiding young people, the humble hoodie is a warm, comfortable clothing choice and nothing more. Personalised hoodies have become especially popular among the younger generation, being a great way to show your support for a club, team, group or cause. Lots of youngsters get hooded sweatshirts made up as a keepsake from old schools, or fun group holidays rick and morty hoodie . Hoodies are frequently used as a way to remember positive experiences. So why do hoodie-wearers have such a bad reputation?
One possibility is that, although the vast majority of youngsters wear hoodies, the only ones who make it into the media are those that are up to no good. This could lead older people to assume that it is young thugs and criminals alone who wear hoodies. This could mean that all hoodies, even friendly personalised hoodies, get unfairly judged and maligned.
Exposure to perfectly nice youngsters who wear personalised hoodies, or hoodies in general, could help the older generations to realise that the image of the dangerous, out-of-control youngsters in hoodies, is not the norm.
Another element which might make people wary of hoodie wearers, whether they wear personalised hoodies or otherwise, is the physical shape and style of hoodies and promotional hoodies. You will no doubt have seen signs in shop windows which read: ‘NO HOODS IN STORE’. The fact that hoodies have an, eponymous, hood might sound obvious but it is something which can make people nervous because it obscures the faces of wearers.
The images in the media of faceless gangs of youths in hoodies, even in personalised hoodies, can look particularly menacing, simply because their faces are hidden. When you are unable to see the faces of large groups it can seem scary because of the lack of human connection. Mostly, however, this prejudice against the humble hoodie is a media construct, mixed with just a little bit of class snobbery and fear of the young…an unpleasant cocktail when you think about it.
Hooded sweatshirts are increasingly becoming a household name, not just gotten out of the closet for weather considerations but for fashion trends as well. A hoodie is basically a top garment traditionally used for cold weather, with pockets on the abdominal area’s front and a hood that has a drawstring that can be adjusted for the hood’s opening at the neck. The pockets are a bonus as they are easily accessible to the wearer and are curved upwards to prevent things from falling out. Sometimes hoodies have zippers instead of drawstrings and are also called zip-ups or zip hoodies.
The hoodie may have come from the form of clothing in the middle Ages, or the Catholic monks’ formal wear that included a cowl. The decorative cowl is added to the traditional tunic or robes. In the 1930’s, clothing manufacturer Champion started making hooded sweatshirts, mostly for workers in cold storage houses in New York.
Shortly after that, clothing designers picked up on the trend, and hoodies became part of sportswear collections. In the 1970’s, hip hop culture emerged and the hoodie trend took off some more. Additionally, the anonymity that hoodies offered also contributed to its notorious side – as a clothing choice for criminals. But the notoriety also propelled the hoodies’ fame some more, even being embraced by high fashion.
The popularity of hoodies spread all over, counting in its list of clients’ skateboarders and surfers, dancers, and sports aficionados. Moreover, brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, and Ralph Lauren also jumped in the hoodie bandwagon. Even universities across America started manufacturing hooded sweatshirts with their respective university logos imprinted on the clothing.
Today, the hoodie is part of everyday wear and every culture has developed their own forms and styles. Warmer countries opted for hoodies made of thinner material while countries that enjoyed cold climates stuck with the sweatshirt styles. Hoodies for both men and women also emerged, with hoodies for ladies evolving from sweatshirt styles to sleeveless blouses and tops, hooded sportswear, and even hooded gowns.
One of the recent evolutions of the hoodie are called “goggle jackets.” These hoodies hide the whole of the head and face, leaving two eye slots from which the wearer can see through. Italian counterparts of the goggle jackets are quite expensive averaging at about 600 pounds in stores. However, other brands sell the goggle jacket at about 50 pound a piece and this newest hoodie craze easily became the talk of the town. Some store owners have confessed that due to the rise in demand for these jackets, they have had to order hoodies every two weeks.