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From everyday streetwear to Halloween costumes, the fashion world is heavily inscribed in gathering inspiration from the thrilling sport of race car driving. When Formula 1: Drive to Survive hit Netflix over the summer, race car fans’ and thrill-seekers tuned in to learn more about the inherent passion involved in the $9.4 billion industry, and consequently to its artistic wear.
The technology incorporated into top-quality racing suits is remarkable. Created paramountly for safety, these suits also cross the boundaries of style and comfort to become one of the most trendsetting sports uniforms of all time. According to Flowracers.com, “Formula 1 level safety helmets cost around $4,000 each. However, over the course of a full season, a single driver will require 15 helmets, adding up to a total of $60,000.” In Torro Rosso's 2018 financial statement, purchasing team clothing, stickers, and materials used to build cars totaled to be an estimated $56.5 million.
While most financial records of F1 are kept under wraps, there is information regarding the financials of the Ferrari team available with a quick google search. Every team in F1 receives a cut of merchandise sold, and for the Ferarri team, that number is upwards of $2 billion. Many teams also utilize their race suits to promote sponsorships, which serves as a massive source of team income. On every suit, there are logos of brands that pay the team considerable amounts of money to have their logo on display. Racing suit manufacturers include industry headliners such as Puma, Adidas, and Oakley, yet the suits represent companies such as Red Bull, Mercedes, and Aston Martin. A blog post on Driver61 informs, “With drivers wearing and promoting Alpha Tauri clothes, and the name being broadcast to more than 400 million viewers per year, the brand has a far stronger footing in the fashion industry.” It is not public information how much a racing suit actually costs, but it is safe to say that the price far exceeds most attire worn by professional athletes in other sports. You can even purchase a used race suit for as much as $5,860.36!
The influence of race car driving on pop culture, and by association, fashion, is remarkable. The first installment of the Fast and Furious franchise dropped in 2001, and since then, everyone has longed for a taste of the fierceness that comes with the exhilarating sport. Many streetwear clothing brands have gradually produced more racing-themed shirts, pants, and jackets. Stores like Princess Polly, Adika, and Frankie Collective use this trend to push new styles out every few months, ranging from varsity-style jackets to large t-shirts with printed images of racecars. Fashion Nova and Dolls Kill consistently release race car-inspired Halloween costumes every year for the thousands of people that dress up as race car drivers—a timeless costume.
The danger, ferocity, and sultriness that come with this incredible sport make it a hit in the world of style. These drivers risk their lives every time they step behind the wheel, but they do it in style—I cannot think of a grander fashion statement than such.