A Pocket Full of Charm
We all use pockets on a daily basis, but they’re an often overlooked element of style. Pockets have come a long way in the fashion world; in the past, both women and men carried purses, and what started as pockets being a functional element transformed into a significant style aspect of clothing. Depending on how they are cut and where they are present, pockets gauge the formality or casualness of an outfit.
Taking cues from nature to create human-inspired products, the kangaroo pocket is usually found on hoodies and resembles the marsupium. The front pouch with either a vertical or horizontal entrance connected in the middle - lengthwise- was created to store large items that would not fit anywhere else. Whether used to store items, carry babies, or stay warm, the kangaroo pocket offers a practical solution for casual wear. Some historians claim that the pouch pocket was created as an alternative to mittens to keep your hands warm during winter, but history tells a different story, and it all stems from one company.
Knickerbocker Knitting Mills was founded in 1919, specializing in woolen undergarments and protective uniforms for industrial workers. They later revamped their name to Champion and eventually shifted their focus to athletics wear. By the 40s, Champion collaborated with the iconic Ann Arbor sportswear brand to produce the University of Michigan branded sweatshirts and T-shirts. The hoodie was part of this initial collection, and the success was huge.
There was a natural gravitation towards the brand from youth and street culture groups, including skateboarders looking for clothes that embodied their livelihoods. Demand for specific types of hoodies and pockets on the front instead of the side or back that offer more storage became a trend even before Champion became an established merchandising partner with NCAA and NFL throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
“Champion's initial design was utilitarian and duty-oriented, arguably anonymous, but its plainness made a profound impact — and there's no sense it'll go extinct any time soon. It's difficult to describe what exactly draws us all to the hooded sweatshirt. It is ubiquitous yet uniquely your own; an overt statement and yet a signal for being left alone.”
- Evan Malachosky.
It’s only been 100 years since the inception of the hoodie with kangaroo pockets, and we’ve witnessed it transform from a functional sportswear solution to a massive fashion statement. Hoodies have become synonymous with creative expression and an easygoing lifestyle. So much so that institutions, workplaces, and event venues have loosened their dress code to accommodate its impact on the world.