Is Zuckerberg’s Hoodie the Essence of Facebook?

As we reported earlier, Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie has created a fairly large debate after the youthful billionaire was criticized by Wall Street bigwigs for his casual attire.

The Zuckerberg hoodie controversy is kind of surprising in that if this era has any modern icon with a signature look, it’s Zuckerberg and his hoodie. The look is as much symbolic as it is ubiquitous, and was even oft-referenced when the Trayvon Martin tragedy became huge news nationwide- many who sought to defend Zimmerman pointed to the slain teen’s hoodie as an element of suspicious behavior that could have precipitated his killing, while naysayers rightly pointed out that one of the most successful and iconic billionaires in America rocked a hoodie for years straight without incident or even critique.

But it seems Zuckerberg’s hoodie has found its detractors, with the Wall Street big shots who kicked off the controversy loudly grumbling that the disruptive entrepreneur’s choice of attire was disrespectful to investors as it fell out of line with traditional financial industry garb.

The debate seems almost as much youth-ist as it is contrary to the point- for those of Zuckerberg’s age, a hoodie is the most basic and versatile of twenty and thirtysomething fashion, available in pricey fabrics and cuts and the undeniable staple of the business casual office everywhere.

The other point made quite throughly by the Atlantic, of course, is that Zuckerberg’s hoodie and all it represents typify a larger, more valuable part of Facebook’s culture. Before noting that when Zuckerberg’s hoodie comes off, he falters, the site explains:

“Zuckerberg didn’t get where he is today by trading in his signature look for something that looks more CEO friendly. He built the Facebook magic wearing a hoodie — at least according to The Social Network. At the very least he did it in a place where hoodies are fashion-appropriate. Since then he has worn the hoodie. And also since then, Facebook has grown and he’s made lots of money. Coincidence?”

Indeed, it seems to be no coincidence that Zuckerberg’s hoodie is omnipresent, as it sends a specific message to Facebook employees, users and yes, investors- that the company is young, evolving, friendly. A move away from Zuckerberg’s hoodie would damage the vibe that the blockbuster company has worked so hard to cultivate with its millions of users worldwide and possibly precipitate a change in user perception- which is something you’d think investors would fully understand.

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