As the lines between high fashion and streetwear continue to blur, one item reigns supreme, transcending seasons and trends - the hoodie. Its seamless blend of comfort, functionality, and style has secured its place in wardrobes worldwide. But, when were hoodies invented, and how did they become such a staple in both luxury and street fashion? Let’s take a look.
What is a Hoodie
A hoodie, short for hooded sweatshirt, is a staple garment in modern wardrobes; from Essential hoodies to other high-fashion brands, the hoodie has evolved from athletic-wear into a form of high-fashion streetwear. Its appearance, however, remains the same: a hoodie is typically an oversized, pullover or zip-front sweatshirt with a hood attached at the back. The design often incorporates a muff sewn onto the lower front, which acts as a pocket large enough to place both hands.
The simplicity of a hoodie belies its iconic status in the fashion world: it's a symbol of the democratic nature of fashion, where high-end labels and affordable brands both consider it a cornerstone piece. Yet the simplicity also offers endless scope for creative reinterpretation, making it a canvas for fashion designers and a beacon of self-expression for the wearer.
Who Invented Hoodies
The invention of the hoodie is credited to the American sportswear company Champion, known then as the Knickerbocker Knitting Company. In the early 1930s, the company was looking for a solution to protect labourers from the harsh conditions in the cold storage warehouses of upstate New York, and they came up with a sweatshirt with an added hood, a novel concept at the time, that provided the necessary warmth and coverage.
This utilitarian garment quickly found its way into the athletic sphere, being adopted by athletes for its functionality and warmth. It was particularly popular amongst football and track athletes, who used hoodies to protect themselves from the elements during training and downtime. Champion further developed their design in the 1940s, adding the now-standard muff pocket to the front.
The hoodie as we know it today is a result of Champion's innovative approach to functional workwear, as well as its ability to adapt and evolve with changing fashion trends and cultural contexts. The company's ingenuity not only provided a practical solution for cold storage workers but also led to the creation of an iconic garment that has become a staple in wardrobes worldwide.
When did Hoodies become Popular?
While hoodies were invented in the 1930s, their rise to popularity was a gradual process. Initially, they were largely worn by labourers, athletes and students, with little presence in mainstream fashion. It wasn't until the 1970s, with the advent of hip hop culture in New York, that hoodies began to gain widespread popularity. The garment resonated with the youth, the artists, and the socially disenfranchised, creating a link between fashion and cultural expression.
In the 1980s and 90s, hoodies permeated further into popular culture, appearing in films and television shows and being adopted by the burgeoning skateboard and surf cultures. This period saw the hoodie transition from a practical garment to a symbol of rebellious youth culture.
The rise of luxury streetwear in the 21st century also marked a new era for the hoodie. High-end fashion designers like Yeezy and Essentials began to incorporate hoodies into their collections, reinventing the garment with premium fabrics, innovative designs, and extravagant price tags. This shift culminated in the hoodie's status as a fashion-forward, luxury item, as much at home on the catwalk as on city streets.
Why Hoodies are a Must-Have for Your Wardrobe
So, why is a hoodie an absolute must-have for your wardrobe? A good quality hoodie is much more than a casual comfort garment; it’s a timeless, unisex fashion staple that can elevate everything from your street style to your workout. Here’s why:
While previously confined to streetwear and athletics, hoodies are now welcomed in almost any social context, with countless ways to adapt your look to suit any occasion. Pair it with jeans or joggers for a casual look, layer it under a blazer for a smart-casual outfit, or even pair it with tailored trousers and heels for an edgy high-fashion look.
Comfort and Practicality
Let’s not forget comfort - the primary purpose of the hoodie is to provide comfort, making it perfect for travel, working from home, or simply lounging. The hood also provides protection from the elements, and the front pocket offers a convenient storage spot for essentials, making it perfect for year-round wear.
With endless designs, colours, and styles available, hoodies offer an excellent opportunity to express your personal style. Whether you prefer bold, graphic-print hoodies, simple, minimalist designs, or high-end versions from designer brands, there's a hoodie for every aesthetic.