Sign in London pub window
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSign in London pub window - Credit: CFord

The antithesis of a fedora, ‘hoodies’ are zip-up hooded tops and the favoured term for teenagers (usually male) wearing such garments. Hoodies have been the subject of much flak in the last decade, initially owing to the fact that wearing one allowed shoplifters and muggers to conceal their identities from CCTV cameras.

As a result, there’s a widespread assumption that any teenager or group of teenagers wearing hoodies is spoiling for trouble. The Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent made headlines in 2005 by banning the wearing of hoodies on its premises, and many pubs forbid them. Some see the controversy surrounding the item and its wearers as hysterical, and even Prime Minister David Cameron suggested in a pre-election speech that the hoodie was worn for defensive reasons as opposed to offensive ones.

As an item of clothing, the hoodie is not, as some have tried to suggest, a subcultural youth fashion in the one-time manner of leather jackets and parkas. Although as a ‘look’, a billowing hood worn over the head has roots in American hip hop, hoodies are worn by youths with wildly differing musical tastes, background, ages and ethnicities. There is no tribalism among hoodies as there was among punks, goths or skinheads, nor is there any sense of aspiration, as there was with mods.