NASCAR has an interesting relationship with streetwear. Despite the professional racing company not being as popular with a mainstream audience as say the NBA or NFL, its products have still managed to become fashion statements for many people. Colorful, all-over print T-shirts representing everyone from the late legend Dale Earnhardt to the random driver in the back of the pack have long been a hot commodity in the vintage community. Racing jackets created by Jeff Hamilton in the ‘90s and 2000s covered in brand sponsorships have also been a go-to vintage item. Supreme has even crafted its own variations in the past. But now NASCAR is setting its sights on a new garment as a means to tap into the streetwear community: a pair of mesh shorts.
Releasing this Friday, NASCAR has partnered with popular designer Eric Emanuel for a limited edition collaboration centered around his notorious shorts. To fit the racing theme, they’ve covered the shorts in a sublimated checkered flag print. Additional details include a royal blue EE logo and official NASCAR branding on the opposite leg. The drop comes in anticipation of the NASCAR season’s championship race taking place this Sunday in Phoenix.
“NASCAR is actively trying to expand the vision and the audience. Obviously, one of the easiest ways to get to a younger generation would be through apparel. I think so many kids are already familiar with NASCAR IP given they wear vintage NASCAR shirts, things of that nature. So this just gives them another chance to introduce themselves to NASCAR,” says Emanuel. “The fact that [NASCAR is] actually properly dedicated to engaging consumers and viewers is amazing to me. It’s just classic Americana. It’s a sport that doesn’t necessarily pop up top of mind, but it should, and it could.”