When Period Correct, an automotive-adjacent lifestyle brand based in Costa Mesa, California, released a limited run of Hot Wheels toy cars on its website, they sold out in 30 seconds. Today, you’ll find those miniature versions of an obscure 1990 Mercedes sedan being resold online for more than $1,000. It’s a similar story with many of P.C.’s other coveted pieces, like its McLaren F1 windbreaker or shirts inspired by liveries from Formula One’s tobacco-sponsorship era.
Founded in 2015, Period Correct is among the first brands to successfully marry the disparate forces of street style and car culture. Long before Virgil Abloh got in with Mercedes and Ronnie Fieg collaborated with BMW, Bryan Calvero — founder, classic car collector, and creative force behind the brand — began making enthusiasm for cars look cool.
“Period Correct just reflects our own personal interests,” says Austin Winfield, a partner at the brand. “It’s motorsports. It’s classic cars. It’s, you know, for anyone who appreciates watches, mid-century design, and all the things we’re into.” As it turns out, there are a lot of people who are also really into those things. “We’ll do something that’s focused on the [1986–1991 BMW] E30 M3 and people will lose their minds,” Winfield says, as an example.
When Period Correct was just starting out, there were no shortage of automotive apparel brands. But a lot of that stuff was bland white-label promotional gear, the kind of stuff you’d find in a dusty corner of a car dealership. “There was nothing that felt like it was for us,” says Winfield.
That may be because, for the past, say, 30 years, being obsessively into cars hasn’t been a great look. But recently, something flipped. Fashion embraced NASCAR team jackets and logoed dirt-bike pants. Millennials are about to surpass boomers as the largest car-buying demographic in Canada. People in their twenties and thirties are collecting newly classic cars: boxy sedans, post-malaise American SUVs, and weird European sports cars from the ’90s. It’s something like a changing of the guard: the rise of a new generation of collectors and gearheads who have money to buy the cars they’ve always wanted — or at least a t-shirt inspired by that car.
What’s in the works for Period Correct? It’s putting together more collectibles, car-care products, collaborations with other brands, and even an electric pit bike. And if you actually want to get your hands on any of this stuff, you’re not alone; you’d better be fast with your online shopping trigger finger.