As seen on CCTV: anti social knitwear and the horror of the 'hoodie'

Turney, J (2007) As seen on CCTV: anti social knitwear and the horror of the 'hoodie'. In: 'Dressing Rooms' Conference, University College Oslo..

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)

This paper arises from two areas of interest; firstly, from research into the culture of knitting, and secondly, a response to recent news articles which focussed on and subsequently addressed an innocuous piece of knitted clothing (the hoodie) as a sign of rising criminal activity, anti-social behaviour and disaffected youth.

Drawing from press reports and public responses to the debate this paper questions the possibility of clothing as a mediator of behaviour, and whether clothing has the potential to articulate a fear of difference or 'the other'?

The key themes of this paper address issues central to a discussion of textiles and dress - the ability to both reveal and conceal in relation to notions of morality. Frequently and historically, discourses surrounding issues of morality and dress focus on the notion of the 'undressed', of revealing too much flesh, of being overtly sexual. In the case of the hoodie, the opposite is clearly apparent; the wearer is covering his/her face to deliberately conceal identification and thus suggest possible criminal, anti-social or suspicious activity. Central to this discussion is the notion of covering the head as a deliberate act of concealment, which will be addressed in relation to historical examples and their relevance to dress as embodiment and disembodiment in the contemporary world.

Hoodies are mass manufactured knitwear, lacking the sentimentality of the hand-knitted, it is anonymous, but nonetheless comfortable, stretching with us as we move like a second (albeit sometimes baggy) skin. This paper aims to address the ways in which 'homely' garments can become 'un-homely', how the hidden can conceal all we fear and our fascination with this, by referring to psychoanalytic theory, culminating in the hypothesis of 'hoodies as horrific'.

Divisions: Bath School of Design
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2012 04:45
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:32
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