- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: Masked hoodies - trend or trouble?
- Date: 10th February 2008
- Summary: MAN IN MASKED HOODIE WITH MAN WALKING BEHIND HIM AND STARING
- Embargoed: 25th February 2008 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Fashion,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAEPAKFWS4C09Y4CWOUPZEMNIGN
- Story Text: A hoodie which zips to the top of a person's head concealing their identity has opinion in London divided over whether they are fashionable or a menace.
Rap star Kanye West was one of the first to be seen with this new type of hoodies when he attended a fashion show in 2006. Wearing a red and white hoodie depicting a skeleton, it wasn't long for his fans and to follow in his footsteps.
However, it has only been since autumn when youths and adults alike have begun to take notice.
The hoodies first emerged from streetwear and snowboarding fashion labels but with designs depicting Hannibal Lecter, camouflage gas masks and skull and crossbones, some are questioning whether the sweatshirts would be the ideal tool for criminals.
Reuters Television took the hoodies to London's New Bond Street, home to high-end designer labels, distinctive jewellers and auction houses. Many of the people on the street said they were disgusted with the design.
"I think they're quite appalling. Appalling? Spelled d-r-e-a-d-f-u-l. Dreadful. Well because they conceal the wearer's identity. If you talk to anyone and anyone talks to you, the one thing you need to see are their eyes and if you can't see their eyes then you don't know who the hell they are. That is anti-social in the extreme," said an unidentified man from Hampshire.
"They're good fun at a party but in the night, I would be quite apprehensive," said another woman.
In another London borough of Camden, renowned for its goth, punks and subservient behaviour, the majority of passers-by were amused at the masked hoodies and said they were harmless, pointing to ski masks or balaclavas if people wanted to commit a crime.
"Well it's certainly striking. I know there's some controversy over whether it makes someone more likely to mug other people but I don't buy that. If people want to mug somebody, they'll just stick something else over their face," said Londoner Phil.
When asked if he was scared of the hoodie, John from south London said: "No not really, just look at all the strange people walking around this place (referring to Camden)."
The makers of the hoodies Criminal Damage said they didn't endorse criminal behaviour: "I mean I don't agree with that but there is a slight possibility people might misuse our clothing line to do bad things. But we're totally that's not what we're about. It's not what our ethos is about. But you know where there's good, there'll be bad. People will always stir up some sort of controversy, that's not what our company is about. You can use a hundred everyday items to do a robbery or hold ups and so on. It's not something we agree with, it's not something we're pushing. We're launching these two hoodies purely as fashion line. From a sales point of view, it's something different and there's a demand for it, that's where it ends," said Jas Aytan, a spokesperson for the label.
He added that sales have risen sharply since the hoodies first hit the market in September 2006, pointing to a general growth in sales globally including the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Japan and more recently, the United States.
A similar range of masked hoodies which weren't produced by Criminal Damage were used in a robbery in Colorado.
In California, a school district banned students from wearing masked hoodies, with school officials saying they presented a security threat.
The masked hoodies range in price from 30 to 600 British pounds (60 to 1200 USD).
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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