The word “hood” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “hod”. Its appearance was first noted in England in the 12th century, although it was most likely an “import” with the Norman conquests of 1066. In Medieval Europe, hooded tops were the traditional clothing for monks, except the hood was known as a cowl and was attached to their tunic.
During the same era, a hooded top was normally worn by an outdoor worker. These tops were known as a chaperon, a word which is still in use today.
Hooded sweatshirts, as we know them, were first manufactured in the USA in the 1930s. They were produced by Champion and were mainly worn by labourers to combat the freezing temperatures as they worked outdoors in New York.
The hoodie first became popular as a fashion item in 1970s, particularly among fans of the hip hop culture that developed in New York City. The style was quickly adopted by high fashion designers, such as Norma Kamali, who put the new style on the catwalk and gave it a glamorous edge. It received another popularity boost in 1976 when it was worn in the boxing epic, Rocky, starring Sylvester Stalone.
The modern term “hoodie” was first used in the 1990s. By this time, it was a popular fashion garment, adopted by youth cultures such as surfers and skate-boarders, particularly in California. At around this time, the craze for hoodies with logos began. As well as university logos, hoodies also sported designer labels, such as Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, who all designed a range of hooded tops in the ’90s.
Unfortunately, the media at this time turned the word “hoodie” into a term for criminals, suggesting they maintained anonymity by wearing hoods. You could often read news stories about “gangs of hoodies” hanging about on street corners. Similarly, the garment became associated with “chavs”, a derogatory British term to describe an anti-social youth culture, at the start of the 21st century.
Today, the hoodie is regaining its respectability, with the garment becoming increasingly popular among athletes and individuals for training and keep-fit purposes. Gym hoodies are notable for their dynamic design and high-quality fabrics. They include lightweight summer essentials, thick winter garments and sleeveless hoodies for all aspects of personal training. Many major sportswear manufacturers have produced their own range of gym hoodies and they are as popular on the sports field as they are as everyday wear.