Dress codes (3) – The history of the hoodie

This is the third activity of a thematic unit on dress codes. It consists in a TED video about the hoodie. The speaker offers a personal account of the garment’s history, using a broad definition of what a hoodie is (any piece of clothes with a hood attached). Her interpretation of the hoodie allows her to shed new light on past dressing practices, while also being somehow too all-encompassing. Students are asked to answer comprehension questions, to reflect on this original take on a piece of clothes, and to summarize the video. 



Watch the following video, entitled The History of the Hoodie, and answer the corresponding questions.


1. The speaker calls the hoodie « a humble masterpiece ». How could you define such an object ?

2. What are the different avatars of the hoodie that Paola Antonelli points at ?

3. What are the defining elements of the modern hoodie?

4. When and why was the modern hoodie created?

5. Which members of the street culture are mentioned by Antonelli?

6. According to Antonelli, what does the fact that Mark Zuckerberg wears a hoodie reveal of the contemporary business world? How convincing do you find her interpretation?

7. Which psychological needs are, according to Antonelli, fulfilled by the fact of wearing a hoodie?

8. Who was Trayvon Martin?

9. What role did the hoodie play regarding Trayvon Martin’s death?

10. Overall, in what universes (or areas of life) has the hoodie been used?

11. Overall, what are the elements of the hoodie that have made it so popular throughout history, according to Antonelli?

12. Do you own one or several hoodie(s)? In what circumstances do you wear it? For you, does it have any signification which is not mentioned by Antonelli?

13. If you were to design your perfect garment, which characteristics should it have? Compare your ideas with those of your classmates and try and draw, no matter how unrealistically, an item of clothing which combines the different elements you came up with.

14. Summary:  Your summary must not be longer than 300 words, and you must not use the sentences of Paola Antonelli. Do not forget to explain who the speaker is, and what the format of the document is.


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