History of the hoodie

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 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.

12th Century  - The first hooded garments

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.”

1930s – The first hooded sweatshirt

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.

1970s – Hooded sweatshirts in fashion and at universities

Hip hop culture developed in New York City in the 1970s and American designer, Norma Kamali was among the first designers to embrace the new clothing. Designers have put the hooded sweatshirt on the catwalk ever since.

Around the same time universities started emblazoning hooded sweatshirts with their names.

1976 – Rocky gives the hooded sweatshirt its iconic status

It was the blockbuster sports drama film Rocky which really gave the hooded sweatshirt iconic status.  

The film went on to win three Oscars and is often considered to be the greatest sports drama film of all times.

Since Rocky, the grey hoodie has featured in iconic running scenes in other films including classic thriller Marathon Man as well as in TV series such as political drama House of Cards.

1990s – Term “Hoodie” was coined

The term “hoodie” was first used during the 1990s.  Unfortunately, the term now has negative connotations after being associated with criminality and some aspects of marginalised sub-cultures.  

In July 2006 David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, made a speech suggesting that the hoodie was worn more for defensive than offensive purposes. The Labour party famously parodied the speech with the name “hug a hoodie.” This is one of many examples of just how the hoodie - more than any other iconic clothing style - has evoked such strong social, economic and political ideas and sentiments.

Back to the future with our Origin & Harada hooded sweatshirt

Creating a timeless piece that could fit seamlessly into our modern lifestyle, as well as becoming a trusted running companion, is at the heart of why we decided to create the Origin & Harada Hoodie.  We felt the only way to honour such a beloved item was to try and elevate it as modern classic that delivers comfort.


Crafted with high-end, Australian 350g cotton (100% cotton) the Origin and Harada are durable, tough it’s also soft to the touch. Its soft fleece on the inside makes it a pleasure to wear everyday. It also maintains its shape well unlike some other hoodies that can be prone to sagging.


All Okthro clothes are regular fit cut in style but still fit standard sizing. If you like your hoodie on the large size, we recommend sizing up.


To maximize comfort and ensure a smooth finish, we’ve fleeced up the inside of the Origin and Harada hoodie and embedded our logo for you to wear with pride whilst using the same famous australian cotton fleece.

Pulling all these together, our mission is to elevate this iconic classic with a rich history to a garment which is equally pleasing for running as it is for post- pre- run. The choice of fabric, fit, detailing and hardware have been critical in creating what we like to think of as the perfect hoodie.


July 26, 2021 — Matthew Richardson