This unprecedented exhibition explores the role of a fashion garment as a socio-political carrier. The hoodie tells many stories – tales of social inequality, youth culture, subculture, police brutality, racism, privacy, fear, and style. It is a garment that sparks a range of emotions, communicating all manner of social and cultural ideas and nuances depending on the gender, geography, age, conduct and ethnicity of the wearer and, in turn, the prejudices and politics of the viewer. Popularised by Champion in the 1930s, the hoodie was a practical solution for workmen; it is now, arguably, Western Fashion’s last truly political garment.

The hoodie is at the center of contemporary dress, hyped as a trend and a must-have item, but elsewhere, is also a signifier of moral panic, banned by certain institutions and dissected by the media as an emblem of inequality, crime or deviance.

Curated by writer and cultural commentator, Lou Stoppard, The Hoodie is a dynamic mixed media exhibition, uniting artworks with garments, printed matter, digital footage, social media posts, and other cultural artifacts. It explores distinct and intersectional themes including the rise of surveillance culture and facial recognition technology; music and subculture; conversations around androgyny and gender fluidity; and the breakdown of traditional dress codes. The show examines these themes in relation to the hoodie, challenging the viewer to consider its multifaceted relationship with contemporary culture. The exhibition also contextualizes the hoodie in fashion history, tracing its evolution from 1930s workwear to an icon of streetwear.

The Hoodie brings together a diverse selection of artists and makers whose work in photography, film, installation, fashion, and other media are connected by a mutual interest in these central themes. It will feature work by seminal artists and photographers such as David Hammons, Campbell Addy, Sasha Huber, John Edmonds, Lucy Orta, and Thorsten Brinkmann, as well as designers such as Rick Owens, Off-White, VETEMENTS, and Vexed Generation. Also on display will be specially commissioned installations by Bogomir Doringer and Angelica Falkeling.

The Hoodie @ Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museumpark 25, 3015 Rotterdam
Exhibition open 1 December 2019 – 12 April 2020