A Brief History of the Hoodie: From Workwear to Fashion Staple

The hoodie is a staple of modern fashion, but its history is rooted in practicality and function. The hoodie as we know it today has evolved over the past century, from humble beginnings as a workwear garment to a fashion icon.

Early Days of the Hoodie

The earliest versions of the hoodie can be traced back to Medieval Europe, where monks wore hooded robes as a way to keep warm and maintain a sense of privacy while in prayer. The hooded garment continued to be worn by various groups throughout history, including laborers, peasants, and sailors.

In the 1930s, the Champion company created the first modern-day hooded sweatshirt, which was designed to keep athletes warm during outdoor training sessions. The hoodie quickly became popular among athletes and sports teams, and it was soon adopted by universities and high schools across the United States.

Hoodies in Pop Culture

The hoodie gained popularity outside of the sports world in the 1970s, thanks in part to the rise of hip-hop culture. Rappers and artists such as Run-DMC and LL Cool J popularized the hoodie as a symbol of urban streetwear, and it became a staple of the hip-hop aesthetic.The hoodie also became popular among skateboarders and snowboarders, who wore them as a way to stay warm while participating in outdoor activities.

Controversy Surrounding the Hoodie

Despite its popularity, the hoodie has also been the subject of controversy. In the early 2000s, the hoodie became associated with gang culture and was often worn by individuals who wanted to conceal their identity while committing crimes. The incident sparked a national conversation about racial profiling and the use of the hoodie as a symbol of threat or danger.

Hoodies in Fashion

Despite the controversies surrounding the hoodie, it has remained a popular fashion item, with designers and brands incorporating the garment into their collections. In the early 2000s, designers such as Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs featured hoodies in their runway shows, elevating the garment to high fashion status.

Today, the hoodie is a staple of streetwear and athleisure fashion. Brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Supreme offer a wide variety of hoodies in different colors, designs, and materials. The hoodie has also become a popular canvas for graphic designs, with brands and artists using the garment to showcase their artwork.

The Future of the Hoodie

The hoodie shows no signs of disappearing from fashion anytime soon. In fact, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to work from home and prioritize comfort over fashion, the hoodie has become even more popular. The hoodie has also become a symbol of activism, with brands and individuals using the garment to promote social justice causes and raise awareness of important issues.

In terms of design, the hoodie is constantly evolving. In recent years, designers have experimented with new materials, such as sustainable fabrics and high-tech materials that offer advanced performance features. The hoodie has also become more gender-inclusive, with brands offering unisex designs and a wider range of sizes.


The hoodie has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a practical garment for athletes and laborers. Today, the hoodie is a symbol of both comfort and fashion, and it continues to evolve with the times.