Live.Breathe.Futbol: Temple Alumni’s Clothing Lines Shows Soccer Pride
The Olympics may be over, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating our favorite athletic competitions. When cheering on a team or sport, we often find ourselves watching from the stands, couches or restaurant tables wearing our respective teams’ attire with pride. For Ebun Olaloye, that isn’t enough. He wanted more, and instead of finding it, he created it: Live. Breathe. Futbol (LBF).
Olaloye, who’s originally from Lagos, Nigeria, moved over to the States at the age of 10. While growing up in New Jersey he would hand paint T-shirts with different graphics of things he liked. This would be what initiated his dream of owning a clothing line, a dream that continued to grow in college at Temple University. There, he began making shirts with his favorite soccer players printed on the front.
On his 21st birthday he came up with an idea to create 21 shirts and sell them to whoever wanted them. Olaloye posted on Twitter, where he frequently talked about soccer, that he was going to sell these 21 shirts and they sold rather quickly, surprising the soon-to-be college graduate. These were the beginning steps toward the LBF lifestyle.
“That was kind of how the brand started,” Olaloye said. “It still wasn’t a business, really. It was just me making shirts that I liked. It was like, ‘Well, I’m going to graduate in a year; what am I going to do with my life? What is going to be special about my story? I am going to start this brand Live. Breathe. Futbol.’”
While attending Temple, Olaloye met many friends through soccer as they spent many nights playing pickup games at 15th and Norris Street on Geasey Field. This was their stress relief; they would play for hours, building relationships with fellow fans of soccer. It was at Geasey Field that he met his future business partner, Dom Cucinotta.
“We had done stuff together before,” Olaloye said. “He was a film major at Temple and one of his first projects was a soccer video. I knew he was passionate about the game. We played together. I trusted his eye for certain visuals and I knew that I wanted LBF to be a visual brand. I felt like he was the right person to bring on as a business partner. We kind of have been doing it together since.”
The next step for them was to begin expanding their product selection; no longer was LBF going to be just soccer T-shirts. They started making hats, sweaters and scarves that were tailored to those seriously devoted to the game. The LBF brand continued to grow on an international level and now has customers and followers as far away as Scandinavia, Seattle, Vancouver, France and beyond.
Through social media, Olaloye and his team are able to share their love for soccer with the world, from players to fans alike. He runs his brand in a holacratic way: He wants people to be passionate about the company and wants them to come into the office (if they so wish). With this mentality the work pressure is based on when you come up with a new idea organically as opposed to forcing it.
“Figuring out where the business needs to grow, what needs to happen, how do we keep things going, that’s always the hardest part,” Olaloye said. “You never want to stay exactly where you are. You always want to grow.”
LBF just released their third collection, Maestro. This part of the brand is a twist on your average jacket and pants one would wear to play a game. What LBF brings to the table in this collection, different from other name brands, is constructed to fit what a soccer player would want to wear while playing. Their team went through a process of trial and error in order to figure out exactly what was going to work for their followers.
“We are willing to take risks and try things out because we can do that,” Olaloye said. “We don’t have big people saying, ‘No, you can’t do that, do it this way.’ So far it’s worked.”
Olaloye and friends still get together for pickup games around different parks in the city as well as traveling to different places to curate vlogs on LBF’s YouTube channel. He is also involved in different adult leagues with friends and continues to stay up to date on the latest Arsenal game or soccer in general.
You can check out and purchase Live.Breathe.Futbol products at livebreathefutbol.com •