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Who invented the Hoodie? Sweatshirt History Lessons.

We’re all familiar with it. If you have one, you can’t wait to get home after work to put it on. Or, if you’re working from home, it might have replaced your business attire. But, regardless of where you wear it, there’s no doubt that the hoodie is the most comfortable piece of clothing you own.

Have you ever wondered what genius came up with the idea to design this sweatshirt that feels like a blanket? Let’s find out where it all began.

Who invented the hoodie?

Hoodies, also called hooded sweatshirts, are, yep, you guessed it: sweatshirts with a hood. We typically think of hoodies without zippers, but sweatshirts with a zipper and a hood are sometimes called zip-up hoodies. Although they’re often worn for comfort, hoodies have also become a fashion trend, especially for teens and young adults. Like many other fashion trends, such as jeans, the hoodie has surpassed its original, functional purpose.

So when were hoodies first invented? Previously called the Knickerbocker Knitting Company, Champion Products made the first hooded sweatshirt in the 1930s. The hoodie was initially designed to keep workers in Upstate New York warm during the bitter winters. The addition of the hood was to keep workers and later athletes safe from the cold and other elements. Champion started making hoodies once they were able to sew thicker materials together. Before it was a fashion trend, the hoodie was a practical garment.

Fictional worker from the 1930s wearing a New York City Hoodie.

When word got out about the usefulness of this garment, Champion started making hoodies for the US military for training and physical exercises. They also began working with high schools to supply hoodies to their athletic departments. As many fashion trends often are, the hoodie trend was popularized by teens and young adults. The trend began as soon as it became a rite of passage for a girlfriend to wear her athlete boyfriend’s hoodie. Despite its humble beginnings, the hoodie went from the warehouse to the catwalk as it rose in popularity.

History of the hoodie

In the 1970s, universities started making hoodies with their name, which became a big selling point. Students could be comfortable and represent their school at the same time. With the rise in higher education during the 1970s and 80s, students were proud to show off the name of their alma mater.

The hoodie’s popularity continued to rise. We can’t forget the infamous gray hoodie from the film Rocky, which premiered in 1976. Rocky Balboa’s gray hoodie influenced the attire in many other sports films. The movie was so iconic that Rocky made anyone watching want to go out and buy a hoodie for themselves. 

Rocky Balboa wearing his iconic hoodie.

Hoodies also became popular in hip-hop culture in the mid-seventies. Worn by graffiti artists and break-dancers alike, the hoodie quickly became a part of the culture developing on the streets of New York. In the nineties, even high fashion brands such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger noticed the trend and embraced the hoodie. Nowadays, Vogue even makes its own hoodie.

Hoodies have come a long way in their brief history, from the warehouses to the basketball courts. They’re not just for lounging in your living room anymore, and they’re not even just for keeping you warm. If NBA athletes can wear hoodies with a blazer, and Mark Zuckerberg can wear a hoodie to a business meeting, you can wear your hoodie your own way.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab your hoodie and wear it with pride. And if you don’t have a hoodie of your own, I’m sure you’re ready to see what the big deal is. Check out our online tool where you can design your own hoodie or find one of our cotton hoodies with your hometown on it.

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