How Trevor Stewart is the New Face of Racing

How Trevor Stewart is the New Face of Racing

How Trevor Stewart is the New Face of Racing

The California native shares his plan to shake up the traditional notions of racing – as well as the outfits he plans to do them in.

The California native shares his plan to shake up the traditional notions of racing – as well as the outfits he plans to do them in.

Photography: Michelle Genevieve Gonzales

Styling: Douglas VanLaningham

Text: Kala Herh

Unless you’re big into the off-road racing scene, you may not have heard of Trevor Stewart until now—but that’s all about to change. “I want to be everything and I want to be everywhere,” said Stewart from his home in California. Stewart started gaining recognition in the racing world when he took home first place in the Big 6 National Grand Prix Championships in 2018 and then later in 2019. Born and raised in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Stewart got his first motorcycle for his third birthday and two years later, at the age of five, he won his first race. In the intervening years, however, the 22-year-old has proved racing isn’t all that makes up Trevor Stewart. 

Stewart recently made his fashion debut at Paris Fashion Week when he modeled for Mr. Saturday’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection. As racing jackets and form-fitting silhouettes of motorsports trickle into Balenciaga, Vetements and other luxury brand runaways, Stewart’s debut into fashion reflects the industry’s increasing infatuation with action-sport subcultures and the players who make it. Also off-road, Stewart shoots racing videos with his friend Brandon Dalton. With a trunk full of garments and his Kawasaki KX450 motorcycle, the pair head to the desert to film videos that build the sport by intersecting racing, fashion and videography. Current pieces in his trunk include Midnight Studios tees, an Alexander Digenova leather jacket and cow-printed Brain Dead Reeboks. 

Trevor wears all clothing Giorgio Armani Jewelry Tiffany & Co.

And while Stewart is pursuing other creative outlets, he still finds his way back to the track. Here, in his pink YSL tee with motorcycle motifs, Stewart is slashing traditional gender norms. A couple races back Stewart wore a t-shirt from the women’s collection just because he thought the sleeves were unique. And while he wears what he wants as a form of expression for himself, he also wants to be an inspiration for young racers as well. “I want kids to realize that they can really do whatever they want in this lifetime,” he said in a pair of denim Wrangler shorts with knee-high Uggs. “I would say a lot of people are stuck trying to fit this form of a motorcycle racer and it’s a thing of the past.” And if we know one thing about Trevor Stewart it’s that he’s guaranteed to shake up more than just the dirt on and off the track. 

Below the young motorcyclist shares his ambitions on and off the track and how he plans to use fashion to push motorcycling into the mainstream. 

VM: The first question we have for you is a basic one - how did you get into racing? How old were you when you started? 

TS: I got my first motorcycle for my third birthday. And I got introduced to it through my family. I'm the youngest sibling of two older brothers and my dad raised and they all were already riding and yeah, you know, I just kind of wanted to be like them. So I got a bike for my third birthday. And it's kind of just been around ever since.

VM: So since you were the youngest, did your siblings have any tips that they would give you? Do you think that it helped you advance your racing skills in that way? 

TS: Yeah, absolutely. We grew up as a pretty competitive family too. So we were always trying to, you know, one up each other. And, you know, my dad was always the one that would meet us in the middle. He was like, the middle ground. So I learned I definitely learned a lot from my brothers. But I'd say definitely learned the most from my dad in my early years, especially since he's a huge part of my professional career now. 

VM: What’s one of your earliest memories of racing? 

TS: When I was five years old, it's a weird thing that I remember. But I remember my first ever time winning and it was at a track up in Corbin, California, which isn't too far from the Los Angeles area. But yeah, I was five. Very funny because I don't remember a lot of things. I don't have the best memory. But I remember that like it was yesterday. Just kind of like crossing the finish line and realize that I got first place and it was, yeah, my first time ever winning. So that was pretty cool. And yeah, definitely a feeling that I'll never forget.

All clothing Louis Vuitton

VM: I also want to talk about the different types of racing that you’ve done – between off road and motocross specifically. For people who don’t know the difference can you explain it to them and why you decided to pursue one over the other? 

TS: Yes, so, motocross is basically a shortened race on like a closed course track, the length of it is maxes out at like 30 minutes long. And then off road is kind of like cross country racing. So it spans anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours. It goes from, like a mile and a half to two miles long. And off road course, spans out to be like 12 to 15 miles, or even longer sometimes. And motocross track mostly just has jumps and corners, and you can you know, if you're a spectator, you could watch the whole thing unfold in front of you. But off road racing is definitely a lot longer, a lot faster. And yeah, that's about it.

VM: Cool, and so now you do mostly off-road races? 

TS: Yeah, I do off-road racing now. Mostly just because I found out I was a lot better at it and I was going to be able to make a living doing it. When I was like, 14, I realized that if I wanted to race a motorcycle I'd be racing off-road.

VM: And how do you prepare yourself for a race? 

TS: Like, obviously, like the works already done before you get to that race. So you're kind of showing up to handle business. So when I am there, it's just kind of, it's just fun. Like, I don't really, like mentally prepare myself at all. I'm usually laughing or have a camera in front of my face. My buddy, Brandon, and we're just like joking and listening to really funny music. Listening to Kenny Chesney and then listening to Echo 2K just because we're bored and want to look stupid or funny. 

VM: To pivot to fashion, are there any designers that you’re gravitating towards right now? 

TS: Yeah, there's a designer named Shane Gonzales. He owns Midnight Studios. He's really cool. He has a new line coming out this year. It's like, super sick. He took a break for a little while. I really like his work and just honestly like, not really designers. It's more so like, just people like, including friends like that I like that. I don't really take a lot from other people, I just kind of like do my own thing. I like this guy Mitch Modes he looks crazy. This kid Alex Digenova. He started this company out in New York and he lives out here though. He makes the craziest like leather jackets. 

VM: What are some staples in your closet right now? 

TS: I have this pink shirt with their bikes all over it that I like to wear just to upset people in the motorcycle industry because it's a YSL shirt. Also Brain Dead Reeboks. They’re like furry, they’re so cool. 

VM: What excites you about fashion and clothes in general? 

TS: I don't really know what like got me into it, it was more so along the lines of being able to mix it in with other portions of my life like dirt bikes. I like looking like nobody else on a motorcycle. And if that means wearing some crazy silver Moncler puffer that goes down to my knees that's what I'm gonna do.

VM: And how do you shake things up in the industry through clothes? 

TS: The motorcycle industry is a very like tight-knit industry, which includes like a lot of like, conservative people -- I mean, all types of people, but mostly conservative people. And I guess they really just like, don't understand. I was wearing a t-shirt, like a women's t-shirt at one of our bigger races of the year. And like people are just like looking at me like asking all these questions like, "Why am I wearing this?" or that it's crazy that I'm wearing a women's t-shirt. It says it says a lot about like what I'm trying to do too, because it's like, if you really think about it's a t-shirt. You wouldn't know it's a woman's t-shirt if you read the tag on the back. But I would say a lot of people are still stuck, trying to fit this form of a motorcycle racer and it's truly a thing of the past, like, you could do whatever you want. Like, if kids can't express themselves, like how they want to, then I'll go, I'll you know, I'll go wear a dress riding a motorcycle. I don't care. I want kids to realize that they can do really whatever they want in this lifetime, even if they want to ride a motorcycle like you don't have to conform to someone's opinion. 

VM: Thanks for sharing that story. And how did you get into modeling? Where did that interest and passion come from? 

TS: My best friend, Brandon, and I went on a road trip. And it was like, five in the morning and I just lost my job at Honda. And we left the next day for a road trip just because I needed like, I just needed to go, to get out of town for a little bit and figure out what I was gonna do with the next step in my career. And the sun was just coming up -- we were in Zion National Park and we curated this idea. It wasn’t really modeling at first it was catching the attention of the masses, people that didn’t really know motorcycles. So that was our idea to go ride a motorcycle and capture a whole bunch of really cool content that he films and curates. Really using fashion and clothing as a leverage point to get motorcycles in front of the eyes of the people. 

Trevor wears all clothing Giorgio Armani Jewelry Tiffany & Co.

VM: That’s a great segway because I’m also curious about the shooting of these videos - what’s the process behind it? 

TS: I'll just have five or six different pieces of clothing that are in the back of my van, I'll have my motorcycle, I'll have my gear, and it's just me and Brandon, and we go out with a camera. We'll go to any location, we'll go to the middle of the desert. Not a lot of like, there's not a lot of like thinking that goes into it, it's just really what we think looks cool. And that's actually the beauty in it, we'll just be somewhere that's really cool, we'll just kind of like stop and start laughing and look around and really enjoy ourselves. 

VM: And Brandon, while we have you - What’s it like working with Trevor? What’s the dynamic between you guys? 

BRANDON DALTON: It's seamless because we became best friends like way before we started working together. So working with him as -- I would describe it as super seamless. And it's also very easy, because had the same vision for what we're trying to do. There's no real conflict as to like, what we think is cool. We think the same sh*t is cool. We think the same music is cool. We think the same outfits are cool. The other aspect of it that's worth noting is like, when he goes to a race he's like your favorite racer's favorite racer. The way he rides a dirt bike is like very pleasing compared to like your average five foot six, little guy on a bike. So people like already think he's cool and then he goes and wins the sh*t too. So it's like this cool combo of looking cool and also performing at the highest level. And I think like that makes the job way easier. It's way harder to tell a story when you're not at the top of your field. 

VM: And last question for you, Trevor. What are you looking to get into in the future? Five years from now? 10 years from now? 

TS: I want to be everything. I want to be everywhere. I want to be the face of motorcycles to the mass community. I want to be a voice for kids that that don't have anything to do with motorcycles. I want them to see it and say like, 'This is what I want to do,' and not have their parents say like, 'Oh, that's dangerous,’ or something. There are so many kids out there that ride motorcycles that think that they have to do this and that to get sponsors and, quite frankly, I'm the motherfucker here saying that you do not have to be that guy. You do not have to be the prim and proper person to get help in the industry and you can really do whatever you want to do as long as you treat people kindly and have a good time. I really want to break down every wall possible for myself and be that person on a motorcycle because still to this day that hasn't happened yet and I think very soon it will. I want to be an actor. I want to make music. I just want to be everywhere. I want to be a voice for the people, and I want to have a good time. And I want to show people that the sky really is the limit.

Credits: MAKEUP SAMANTHA LEPRE, HAIR ANGEL V PRADO, PHOTO ASSISTANT DANIEL NERIO, STYLIST ASSISTANT SOFIA LAVINIA

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