Hoodies from History and Pop Culture

With Autumn in full swing, the staff here at Rush Order Tees have more or less made the switch from t-shirts to hoodies — as do many of our customers. In honor of the season’s arrival, let’s take an in-depth look at one of the most comfortable and popular garment styles today.

Historians have traced the roots of hoodies back to medieval Europe, when Monks’ cowls (hoods) adorned their robes and vests. A mainstay of a monk’s formal wear, the hooded monk was a common sight for many centuries. The modern hooded sweatshirt and its variations  are attributed to Champion, the sportswear company founded in 1919. During the American reconstruction spearheaded by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, the hooded sweatshirt warmed the heads and bodies of countless American workers in upstate New York and was marketed as such.

Popularity for the hooded sweatshirt remained stagnant until the 1970’s, when two factors helped to bolster the hoodie into the icon that it is today: Hip-hop culture and the blockbuster hit, Rocky. Following these trends’ leads, high end designers like Norma Kamali embraced the hoodie and promoted its use in her lines. The next big increase in popularity occurred for the hoodie in the 1990’s, when surf and skate culture adopted the garment as one of their signature looks, especially along the West Coast of the United States.

It should not come as a surprise, given its history, that some hoodies have risen in prominence to the point of being iconic pop cultural images. Here are four of our staff favorites:

Stallone climbs the stairs to Philadelphia’s Art Museum in a Hooded Sweatshirt in the film Rocky
Jake Gyllenhaal dons a hoodie in October in the cult classic Donnie Darko
Jake Gyllenhaal dons a hoodie in October in the cult classic Donnie Darko
The Emperor from the Star Wars franchise rocks out in a monk-style robe + cowl
The Emperor from the Star Wars franchise rocks out in a monk-style robe + cowl
E.T. avoids detection using a makeshift hoodie
E.T. avoids detection using a makeshift hoodie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *