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Nascar Jackets Making Loud Fashion Statement

Aired April 1, 2000 - 10:25 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: Nascar clothing seems more appropriate to the drivers of the track, racetrack that is, than to hip-hoppers grooving to a dance track.

But as CNN's Stacey Wilkins now reports, the bright, flashy jackets sporting sponsors names are making a very loud fashion statement.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STACEY WILKINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nascar is a loud sport -- revved up cars, high-speed action and clothing that's just as noisy as a souped-up stock car.

Rap artists are turning up the volume another notch. Cam'ron and Trick Daddy are just two of the rap stars making Nascar clothes a hot new trend in the African American community, where the sport isn't traditionally popular.

TRICK DADDY, RAP ARTIST: I love the Nascar clothing. I love the colors. And I believe I wore it with some yellow pants, and they was like, whoa, that's tight.

WILKINS (on camera): Music may be bringing new attention to Nascar, but the interest of rap fans usually doesn't go anywhere near the racetrack.

(voice-over): Young people are racing to the stores for the logo-covered jackets, hats and T-shirts. They say it's about style, not sports.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like the sport. It's just a fad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it's just a fashion trend.

WILKINS: Designer Jeff Hamilton helped develop the trend when he modified racing clothes to appeal to the hip-hop market. The Los Angeles-based entrepreneur added brighter colors and additional logos to create a new look.

JEFF HAMILTON, NASCAR FASHION DESIGNER: The details are more made out to fashions. We kind of switched colors and made it more -- tried to make them more attractive to a fashion customer.

WILKINS: High-end leather jackets sell for $1,200, a price tag that doesn't stop customers from buying the clothes.

DAVID PRICE, RACE TEAM COLLECTIBLES: Price doesn't seem to be a big issue with them; they just want something that matches and looks good.

MICHAEL GATES, NASCAR CLOTHING FAN: If you got on something that looks nice and cost a little money, and people know that, they going to respect that.

WILKINS: The Nascar organization hopes the fashion craze will help attract new fans to the sport.

BRIAN FRANCE, NASCAR: In order to have a bigger urban impact, anytime you can create awareness, you have a chance to create interests.

WILKINS: A sport that has never been hip...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looks great, doesn't it?

WILKINS: ... may become hip-hop if music and fashion have their way.

Stacey Wilkins, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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