The Jeremy Kyle Tracksuit-gate: the changing perception of streetwear

Feb 7 2015 BY Sidney Korboe

Tracksuits – the bread and butter of the stereotypical working class wardrobe? In 2006, Vicky Pollard certainly suggested so. What’s more is any episode of Jeremy Kyle – a show whose guests, in large part, identify as working class – plays like a run-through of Simon Cowell’s wardrobe, in which tracksuits are the new white v-necks.

Just this past week the show came under fire, criticised for apparent producer demands on a guest to change into a tracksuit prior to to appearing on a paternity test special.

Gareth Edwards, 27, claims he was asked to change into sportswear only then to be branded an “ex-drug dealer in a tracksuit” by the alleged authors of the original outfit request. Evans told the Mail Online: “[Jeremy Kyle] slated me for the tracksuit but it was his tracksuit so he slated himself. I wanted to go on the show to be sure Damien was mine, but we 100 per cent regret it. I only went on the show for my son.” These allegations pose some interesting questions on the effects of the hoody and other sportswear on the perception of ones character. Do hoodies really represent yob culture? The current state of menswear would suggest not.

At present, Mens Fashion sits in a shared space homed by both casual and tailored pieces. Guys donning outfits comprised of sweatshirts and hoodies are now held in the same style bracket as the sorts that wear brogues on the weekend. Last season saw streetwear inspired stock hit the stores; the hybrid jogger pants made popular by brands such as Zanerobe are a perfect point of example. Providing comfortability whilst inviting a host of smart combos these streetwear-inspired casual trousers are popular amongst style conscious men everywhere, and are not in any way refined to those that frequent the Kyle show.

One of the biggest trends to come out of the recent London Collections: Men was again streetwear inspired. A trend  curveball of sorts, the shows featured numerous hoody displays from the likes of CP Company and Tiger of Sweden (worn up, for the most part).

With the revival of streetwear by brands such as Wu-Tang, Staple, Supreme and the likes, Jeremy and his team may need to regroup on how best to package their guests on stage to afford the perception of “working class yobbos”… that is, if the allegations are true of course.

It’s time to revise the apparent idea that tracksuits are only worn by teens and “underclasses”. Instead, streetwear has become the source of weekend cool amongst the stylish, irrespective of class.