NASCAR has never really been popular in England: we’ve got F1 and, to a much lesser extent, rally cars. America, for whatever reason, has never really gotten into Formula One; their chosen motorsport, NASCAR, is a bit like rally but on a short F1 track (I think). To be honest I’m not really sure what it is but what I am sure about is that Americans love NASCAR and the world loves NASCAR merch.
As is often the case the spark of NASCAR wear seemed to come from the hip-hop community. Pharell was spotted in NASCAR star Jeff Gordon’s Pepsi-emblazoned jacket in the early 00s. Looking like a NASCAR Jeff Hamilton jacket, the fashion choice quickly caught on in the rest of the hip hop community (Rihanna, as usual, was all over it) and further.
Hype brands like Supreme soon caught on and were reproducing NASCAR-inspired designs, retailing for over a grand a piece. Within ten years NASCAR fashion had gone from being a niche for fans to infiltrating the world of luxury fashion. Quite a feat if you imagine the crowds at NASCAR races (I’m imagining too, I haven’t a clue, but I’m guessing fashion isn’t high on the agenda).
As quick as fashion moves these pieces are now reselling through rare vintage retailers for about three times their original price. But what is selling more than anything (without the eye-watering price tag) is NASCAR tees. Usually sporting over-the-top graphics and the name and image of some driver you’ve never heard of, NASCAR tees have officially become vintage gems.
Streetwear takes from fashion as fashion takes from streetwear. Celebrities love fashion. In turn, celebrities have taken up the NASCAR trend by sporting race tees on stage, in public, and on tv. I’m not sure how many of them know that much about NASCAR racing, I’m fairly certain most of you reading this don’t know much either, but one thing is certain: NASCAR fashion only seems to be on the up.