Bryan Calvero loves classic cars, mid-century architecture and vintage furniture, so it’s no surprise his Period Correct label is a tasteful melange of all three. Based in Costa Mesa, California — in what used to be an old Porsche spare parts business — the brand’s flagship store is a shrine to motorsports heritage, with just enough floorspace to showcase Calvero’s ever-evolving roster of Porsches, Ferraris and BMWs. Proudly designed and manufactured in the USA, Period Correct is redefining what it means to be a modern classic.
Made with Pride: Period Correct's Bryan Calvero on 997 Numerology
Date: January 31 2019
Sponsored: New Balance
Cars and sneakers do seem to go together.
Sneaker designers have long been inspired by automobile details, so the two do seem to be very compatible. Back when I was four years old, I remember being enthusiastic about race cars. As for sneakers, I’ve always followed basketball and been into the shoes as well. My earliest sneaker memory is actually my father running marathons. There’s a photo in my childhood home of him winning a race in his New Balance runners!
At what point did you start to think about combining all the things you love into one new brand?
Aside from cars, mid-century architecture and furniture are my passions, but visiting Japan on work trips definitely inspired me to start Period Correct. Half my time was spent visiting dealerships and parts stores to research European cars, while the rest was spent in shops researching brands that weren’t carried in North America. I was amazed at the retail build-outs and how the marriage of good design and product was so seamless. I have always wanted to combine both lifestyles by merging fashion with motorsports heritage.
Does the name ‘Period Correct’ imply a love of retro nostalgia, or is it more about doing things the right way?
In the context of the brand, ‘Period Correct’ is meant more in lifestyle terms rather than the strict definition of the phrase. If you love classic sports cars, vintage Rolex watches and mid-century design, then Period Correct is a brand you’ll intuitively understand because it was developed with the pure passion of a true enthusiast. I love cars that are ‘period correct’ in every aspect but I also appreciate hot rod engines that aren’t original to the car. Increasing performance and functionality is always a positive. I’m never one to judge, and if you ever visit the Period Correct ‘Pit Stop’ event you will witness the huge diversity in cars we attract.
The Period Correct store in Costa Mesa defines the brand perfectly. It must have felt like the universe aligned when you found the building.
Indeed, the space couldn’t have been any better. The building was previously owned by Rod Emory’s family, who ran the Porsche Parts Obsolete store here for decades. I always heard stories from the old guys about the famous store as far back as the 70s. Getting this space forced me to move a bit faster on my dream than I would have liked, but what can you do? It was quite an organic process, but I’d like to say it was a blessing from God!
The word ‘classic’ is often associated with sports cars, but it also applies to New Balance. What makes something a proper classic in your eyes?
I think using the term ‘classic’ denotes longevity, simplicity, quality and purity. All those things have to be right. Classic means a design is timeless and should look just as modern now as when it was first designed.
Has that mindset led you to working with brands like Modernica?
Correct. I have collaborated with brands like Modernica, Native Sons, Yuketen and Stand 21 because I admire their ethos and because they’re like family. But it just so happens that they share the same aesthetic when it comes to designing and producing quality goods. The other thing is that those brands are owned and operated by genuine people.
With fast fashion and ephemeral forms of media, nothing seems to last long these days. How much of today’s music, fashion and culture will become classic in a few decades?
That is a very good question. Without having a crystal ball, I would have to say not much. Millennials are very difficult to judge. They do seem to value goods, music and fashion differently than the era I grew up in. They are more impressed by marketing than quality and good design. Millennials want to know who’s wearing it, whether it’s hard to get, and if they can resell for a profit! Today’s kids don’t know what selvedge denim is, or care about Gore-Tex jackets with taped seams. My assumption is that no one will remember this current era because contemporary goods just don’t last like they used to.
So-Cal is the home of hot rod car culture. How does the love of Euro exotics from BMW, Ferrari and Porsche mesh with your location?
So-Cal has the biggest car culture anywhere. Hot rods and muscle cars are pure Americana for sure, but if you drew a 30-mile radius around our store you would find the most amazing collections full of vintage Porsches and even Ferraris that raced in the Mille Miglia. This area also has amazing race history, with tracks like Riverside Raceway and Laguna Seca to name a few, so the link to motorsports is really strong as well.
Well, at least Period Correct is proudly made in the USA! Was that decision part of the brand’s positioning or simply a pragmatic choice?
A bit of both actually. I want to make Period Correct’s goods here in the USA because it’s what I know and love, and because I want to keep everything as local and affordable as possible.
The numerology of car models and New Balance sneakers is another curious crossover. I know you’ve owned several Porsches. What does the number ‘997’ mean to you?
The Porsche 997 means a tremendous amount to me. When I was a child, owning one was my dream, and I’m lucky that a 997 was my first modern Porsche. Ever since I saw the Porsche 997 GT3 RS in that classic orange livery I was hooked! Ralph Lauren has a 997, and since I adored him growing up, I always said that I would get one of my own. The 997 is truly one of the most timeless models that Porsche has ever produced. It’s a very raw and aggressive beast, yet has that traditional 911 shape that I love so much.
Finally, what’s more important — going fast or looking good?
I have to love the shape and design of the car, as well as the performance. The styling and design of race cars with those huge arched flares and slick tyres has always excited me. I have a 1963 Abarth 850 that has only 70 horsepower, and a Ferrari 458 that is pushing over 650 horsepower, but both those cars are fun in their own unique way. The 458 might get you there quicker, but the Abarth still gets plenty of attention and makes me smile. They are stunning cars that serve the old adage about form and function.
Photo Credits: Gage Bantiles and Period Correct
This feature was originally published in Sneaker Freaker's New Balance 997 book. For a look at the 997's history, read about its journey to cult status and our interview with designer, Steven Smith. For a look back at United Arrows' 997.5, read our interview with UA's director, Poggy, or delve into the minutiae of the 997 back catalogue with Matt Kyte. We also broke bread with Kith's Ronnie Fieg to chat about his love for the 997, talked NB colabs with Concepts creative director, Deon Point, and examined early sneaker coverage with Runners World founder Bob Anderson.