LAnchored by the Champion brand, the hooded sweatshirt made its debut on the sports grounds of American faculties during the 1930s. Ideal for keeping the body warm and wicking away sweat, its fleece knit is also suitable for sports benchers. affects only warehouse workers on the East Coast.
Designed to absorb perspiration, as dashing as a tank top in the eyes of society, it’s still a long way from becoming the basic it is today. And it is Muhammad Ali, great champion and decisive relay in the conquest led by black citizens during the 1960s, who released him from anonymity by wearing him tied very tightly in training.
Rocky Balboa did not invent anything, but the boxer played by Sylvester Stallone contributes, in the years following the film’s release, in 1976, to reverse the perception that surrounds sportswear. The 1980s are also those during which the neoliberal ideology will enhance the body and push them to surpass themselves, to suffer, to get wet.
Emblem for the dominant, threat for the dominated
On the fringes of sports halls for dynamic executives, in neglected districts, a new mode of expression is developing in which the sweatshirt plays a crucial role. At night, in the anonymity that his hood allows, the graffiti artists get out in the subway and cover the walls and underground infrastructures of New York City with frescoes. The hip-hop revolution has only just begun and, already, its image and its legitimacy are unleashing racist America.
In 2012, while it is considered a garment certainly fashionable, but of great banality, dressed by all of society, from young skateboarders to the new tycoons of the digital economy of which it is the emblem, it pays the Chronicle. Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American, is shot at point blank range by a local resident on the grounds that his hood as well as his presence in a residential area make him pass for a dangerous criminal.
Carrying the values of effort and work from the New World when it is on the backs of the dominant, the sweatshirt becomes a threat to public order when it is worn by minorities. But here we touch on the clichés, even the blinders, whose astonishing history sends us back to Chrétien de Troyes.