(Syracuse, NY) – Lacrosse has hit the mainstream. After years of living in the shadows, it’s now front and center in the sports world and growing at exponential rates from the youth level upward. The rapid growth has led to the formation of many new companies, mainly equipment manufacturers and retailers. However a new company has come on the scene and taken a new angle on the lacrosse market – in fashion.
LAXFU is a clothing company that has decided to infuse the sport of lacrosse into its styles, hoping to catch the interest of the ever-growing number of players and fans. It was founded by Syracuse natives and lacrosse veterans Mike Dolan and Brett Strait. Both played at perennial powerhouse West Genesee High School, and went on to have impressive NCAA lacrosse careers.
Now that they’ve both been in the corporate world for over a decade, they have diverted their energy and resources into their new clothing lines. “We were originally looking to get into the equipment retail business, but soon discovered that there were some significant barriers to entry,” said Brett Strait, co-founder of LAXFU. (Most of the major equipment companies will only distribute to people with brick-and-mortar storefronts.) “Since some of the distributors made it difficult for us to get involved, clothing was an easy transition for us. We always wanted clothing to be a major part of the company, so we diverted all of our resources into apparel.”
LAXFU is not the first to dabble in the lacrosse clothing arena. Other companies have had success with clothing for younger players, with some exotic designs that many would call “alternative”. LAXFU’s direction is more mainstream, and they describe their styles as “clean and stylish”. (The name “LAXFU” is derived from “lacrosse” and “fusion”, as in their company slogan, “lacrosse infused style”.)
“We felt that lacrosse players were an underrepresented market in the clothing area,” said Mike Dolan, co-founder of LAXFU. “There’s some stuff out there, but most of it is active-wear – clothing that you would wear to the gym or to practice in. We wanted something stylish and high quality enough that you would want to wear out on the town, and we couldn’t find anything on the market that met our standards.”
Historically, lacrosse players would often gravitate towards styles inspired by other activities, like skate and surf wear, along with the more popular brands like Abercrombie and Hollister. “We have always felt that lacrosse deserved its own focus and was capable of supporting a high-quality clothing line,” said Dolan.
LAXFU has also brought in some industry experts. Dolan, who now lives in Boston, MA, is working with designers to assist LAXFU with creating high-end designs for their clothing. They’re also in talks with professional lacrosse players who they plan to enter into endorsement deals with to help elevate brand awareness. With the growth of the sport and the success at the pro level, many lacrosse companies have employed pro players to promote their products.
Lacrosse is certainly here to stay, and this year alone we’ve seen the introduction of numerous new companies. With growth comes innovation and expansive product lines that all lovers of the sport will surely enjoy.
More information on LAXFU and their products can be found by visiting their website, LAXFU.