A Brief History of the Hoodie

Few style evolutions have been as remarkable as that of the hooded sweatshirt. From its origins in Medieval Europe to its powerful presence in today’s fashion world, the hoodie has become both a style icon and a statement piece.  Looking  extravagant hoodie dress back at the history of the hoodie – with its roots in sport and fashion – makes it easy to understand why this has long been an essential item for many a runner’s wardrobe.  

Hooded garments date back to Medieval Europe or earlier. Monks wore tunics with hoods (known as “cowls”) and outdoor workers wore capes with hoods (known as “chaperon.”).  It is believed that the short cape (or “capa”) was imported to England in the 12th Century during the Norman Conquest, as the cape was particularly common in Normandy.  

The word “hood” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word “höd” which has the same root as the word “hat.”

Founded in 1919, the US company Champion apparently made the first hooded sweatshirt in the 1930s. The company turned to making sweatshirts once it had developed methods for sewing thicker materials.  Initially hoods were added to sweatshirts to keep workers warm during the bitter winters in Upstate New York. Shortly thereafter, Champion supplied sports kit including sweatshirts to the US military for training exercises and physical education classes. It was the blockbuster sports drama film Rocky which really gave the hooded sweatshirt iconic status.  Set in Philadelphia, the film tells the rags-to-riches story of how an uneducated but kind-hearted Italian-American amateur boxer, Rocky Balboa (played by Sylvester Stallone), gets a shot at the world heavyweight championship. The film went on to win three Oscars and is often considered to be the greatest sports drama film of all times.

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