Why Is It Called a Sweatshirt?

Why Is It Called a Sweatshirt


Sweatshirts have become a wardrobe staple for people of all ages and walks of life. They are comfortable and often serve as a fashion statement. However, have you ever questioned why they are referred to as "sweatshirts"? 

In order to uncover the history of the enduring name "sweatshirt," we will travel through time in this article" From its humble beginnings to its status as a cultural symbol, we will dive deep into the history and evolution of this beloved garment.

Why Is It Called a Sweatshirt? The Origins of the Name

The term "sweatshirt" originated in the early 20th century. It was first used to describe a garment specifically designed for athletes to wear during exercise or training sessions. The main purpose of these early sweatshirts was to absorb and wick away sweat, hence the name.

These early sweatshirts were primarily made from wool, which had excellent moisture-wicking properties. They were often worn by athletes to keep warm and prevent chills during workouts. Sweatshirts have changed over time in terms of both style and fabric, becoming more wearable and everyday-appropriate.

What makes a sweatshirt a sweatshirt?

As discussed earlier sweatshirts were originally designed to provide warmth and comfort during physical activities. The association of sweatshirt with the activities that make you sweat along with its ability to absorb sweat is what makes the garment to be known as sweatshirt. However, there are other reasons that makes a sweatshirt a sweatshirt, let’s get to know about them, 

  • Fabrics : Cotton, fleece, wool, polyester and French terry are the fabrics with which sweatshirts are made up of. These fabrics are soft, comfortable and have the ability to absorb moisture. 
  • Design and Construction : The long sleeves along with ribbed cuffs differentiates sweatshirts from other pieces of clothing. In addition to that, sweatshirts are designed for relaxed fit and comfortable wear.

Where was the sweatshirt invented?

Why is it called sweatshirt

Now after we have figured out how the sweatshirt got its name, let’s move forward to where the sweatshirt was invented. 

The sweatshirt was first invented in America, by a popular American clothing brand Russell Manufacturing company today known as Russell Athletic. It was 1902 when Benjamin Russell founded Russell Manufacturing Company. It initially manufactured women’s undershirts and children's undergarments. 

However during the 1920's the company produced the first cotton jersey that is today known as sweatshirt. Benjamin Russell Jr. a football player was one who came up with the idea of the first cotton jersey or a sweatshirt. Fed up with wool uniforms for the football game Benjamin Russell Jr. along with his father created the first sweatshirt in Russell Manufacturing Company.

The Evolution of Sweatshirts: From Athletic Gear to Fashion Icon

In the mid-20th century, sweatshirts underwent a transformation. They transcended their athletic origins and became popular casual wear among the general public. They were a popular choice for lounging at home or running errands because of the comfortable fit and soft fabric.

Due to various cultural influences, sweatshirts became even more popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Sweatshirts became fashionable when well-known actors and musicians began wearing them.

The rise of hip-hop culture further solidified the sweatshirt's place in the world of fashion.

Sweatshirts in Pop Culture: A Symbol of Comfort and Style

The 1990s saw a significant surge in the popularity of sweatshirts. They became synonymous with comfort and style, as people from all walks of life embraced the laid-back and casual vibe they exuded. Fashion designers began incorporating sweatshirts into their collections, further elevating their status in the fashion world.

One notable sweatshirt trend during this period was the emergence of logo-centric sweatshirts. Big brands started using their logos prominently on sweatshirts, turning them into a status symbol for many consumers.

The Cultural Impact of Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts now represent a cultural phenomenon rather than just being a piece of clothing. They are frequently linked to nostalgia, conjuring up pleasant memories of college days, scrumptious evenings spent by the fireplace, or just a cozy Sunday outfit.

In the world of sports, sweatshirts are still widely used, especially during colder months. Many sports teams and fans proudly wear sweatshirts with their team logos to show support.

The Rise of Hooded Sweatshirts: Hoodies

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No discussion of sweatshirts would be complete without mentioning hoodies. Hooded sweatshirts, commonly known as hoodies, are a variation of the traditional sweatshirt with an attached hood.

The hoodie's origin can be traced back to the 1930s when it was initially used by laborers working in cold warehouses. Hoodies have gained enormous popularity in recent decades and are now a staple in everyone's wardrobe.

They are frequently linked to youth culture and urban streetwear. Hoodies' adaptability has allowed them to be paired with both casual and semi-formal attire, further solidifying their place as a wardrobe essential.

Sweatshirts as a Canvas for Artistic Expression

In addition to being a fashion statement, sweatshirts have also become a canvas for artistic expression. Many artists and designers use sweatshirts as a medium to showcase their creativity.

Sweatshirts give people the opportunity to literally wear their personalities on their sleeves thanks to their eye-catching graphics, artistic prints, and intricate embroidery.

The Global Reach of Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts have an unstoppable following. People from various cultures and backgrounds have embraced them, and they have grown to be a global phenomenon.

Sweatshirts are appealing to people all over the world, whether they are college students in the United States, fashion-forward trendsetters in Japan, or athletes in Africa.

The Impact of Sweatshirts on the Fashion Industry

Without a doubt, sweatshirts have permanently changed the face of the fashion world. They have refuted the idea that expensive clothing has to be uncomfortable and unusable. Sweatshirts have gained popularity as a result of the emergence of athleisure, a style that combines athletic wear with regular clothing.

Many luxury brands now offer high-end sweatshirts, adorned with intricate designs and made from premium materials. This trend has blurred the lines between casual and formal wear, offering individuals the freedom to express themselves through their clothing choices.

The Sweatshirt's Role in Social Movements

Clothing has been used as an effective means of activism and self-expression throughout history. Sweatshirts were no different. They have become emblems of a number of social movements, including demonstrations for civil rights, environmental protection, and gender equality.

Sweatshirts are a great canvas for slogans and messages because of their simplicity and adaptability; allowing wearers to express themselves without having to speak out loud.

The Sustainable Sweatshirt Movement

Sustainable fashion is becoming more popular as people's awareness of environmental issues grows. Sweatshirts are no exception, and many companies are now making them with recycled and organic materials.

Consumers are increasingly seeking ethically made clothing, and sweatshirts have become a focal point of this movement. Sustainable sweatshirts not only help reduce the fashion industry's environmental impact but also promote responsible consumption.


The origin of the word "sweatshirt" is the result of a journey that includes elements of athleticism, fashion, and cultural significance. The sweatshirt has developed into much more than just a piece of clothing, starting out as athletic gear made to wick sweat and ending up as a global fashion icon.

Now, as you seek to embrace the timeless charm and comfort of a sweatshirt, look no further than One Charlie Kilo. Our company celebrates this iconic garment by offering an extensive selection of stylish and high-quality Hoodies and sweatshirts for women and men. One Charlie Kilo has something for everyone, whether you prefer classic designs or unique artistic expressions.

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