IN THE HOOD: The hoodie is as much a clothing staple as it is a divisive cultural symbol and streetwear icon favored by youth subcultures and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs alike. Now, it’s getting its own exhibition at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, which opens on Dec. 1.
The Hoodie, which runs until April 2020, traces the garment’s history, starting with its role in Thirties workwear. A selection of designers including Rick Owens, Off-White and Vetements will have hoodies on display complimented with an installation created by Bogomir Doringer and works by photographer Campbell Addy.
Depending on who’s wearing it, the hoodie can be an indicator of profession, personality and values. More so than any other garment — except, maybe, jeans — the hoodie sits at the intersection of gender, ethnicity, age and geography. Sometimes, it can even be a provocation.
“Today, we don’t associate black leather jackets with the outsider, they’ve been normalized, evoking a specific class and market. Hoodies, however, are touted as a trend — while also being demonized,” said Lou Stoppard, curator of the exhibition.
The exhibition aims to challenge viewers on who wears the hoodie, and what it represents. Digital footage, social media posts, and the garment itself are used to explore the role of the hoodie within themes of surveillance and the rise of facial recognition technology, music and gender fluidity.
The show features clips from more than 50 magazines that have provided coverage and commentary on the hoodie through the years, as part of a collaboration with Hymag/The Hyman Archive. Furthermore, a digital magazine with specially commissioned interviews and visuals for the show will accompany the hoodie, along with a series of workshops and talks.
Another theme that’s explored is that of dress codes set by individuals and organizations. One example is the museum itself, where dressing too casually is frowned upon.
Stoppard said it would be “quite nice to flip regulations of what you can wear in certain spaces,” adding it was important to ensure the show was mindful of the role it plays in hosting the exhibition.
To open up a dialogue around the museum’s unspoken dress code, visitors wearing a hoodie to the exhibition will be admitted free of charge.