As Mixed Martial Arts continues to break new ground around the world, there’s no question MMA, fueled by the popularity of the UFC, is the fastest growing sport in history. When the UFC invaded the land down under on February 21st, 2010, it was apparent Australian fight fans were stoked to welcome the sport to Sydney’s Acer Arena. UFC 110 was the fastest selling UFC event in history, one which boasted record breaking merchandise sales and a stacked card. Leading the pack in Australian fightwear is a company that has quickly climbed its way to the top of the heap in Australia’s MMA fashion scene.
LOJAK Clothing, comprised of LOJAK Religion and LOJAK Fightwear, is Australia’s top dog when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts lifestyle clothing and fight gear. In an effort to give the rest of the world a formal introduction to this emerging company, we caught up with Daniel Willis of LOJAK Clothing for the official inside scoop.
What’s the good word on Lojak Clothing?
Well LOJAK Clothing is Australia’s largest and #1 Selling MMA Clothing Company – We have 2 brands:
LOJAK Religion – is a Premium MMA Lifestyle brand that was launched at UFC 110 as the official walkout tees of Brian Foster and Elvis Sinosic.
LOJAK Fightwear – has a premium range of MMA Shorts, Rashies, Gloves and a small line of apparel to supplement the rest of the brand.
UFC 110 recently invaded Sydney, Australia with one of the most successful shows to date. How popular is MMA in Australia and why do you think this sport is catching on so quickly around the world?
I think one of the reasons it’s so popular here is simply because Aussies love sport… and the rougher the better. MMA within Australia is still an emerging market and we unfortunately encounter stockists on a regular basis who are scared of stocking a brand that has anything to do with “that cage fighting stuff”. Over time that will change as the sport transitions into the mainstream like what has happened in the US. But unfortunately we are at least a couple of years behind you guys yet. A lot of peoples’ eyes still widen when you tell them which industry you’re involved in.
Rumor has it the event broke records with merchandise sales. How popular is MMA fashion in Australia and how do you see Lojak fitting into the overall equation?
MMA Fashion is incredibly popular here. Even with the more mainstream stockists resisting… MMA Clothing has found its way into the homes of every MMA fan just like it has in any other country. Currently the whole market is being driven forward by a few key retailers around the country like PLANETMAX who were a chain of Sports Supplement / Gymwear stores that have seen the power of MMA and are now Australia’s largest MMA clothing retailer. LOJAK fits into all of this right at the top. We are by far the largest Aussie MMA Clothing company and are also the #1 selling. We are going head to head with brands like Silver Star, TapouT and Affliction on a daily basis here in Australia, competing for the customer’s dollar. The fact that an Aussie brand can genuinely compete and hold its own so well against brands 10 times our size I think is great.
You released some great looking signature T-shirts for Elvis Sinosic and Brian Foster for UFC 110. How do you choose which fighters to work with?
You know what, there are so many up and coming fighters here in Australia looking for sponsorship that for us their record in the cage only accounts for maybe 50% of the consideration. Don’t get me wrong, marketability and personalities are all important, but professionalism outside of the cage is extremely important to us. If we feel someone ticks the boxes then we approach them if they haven’t approached us already. We are very proactive in our sponsorships.
Aside from MMA, do you plan on expanding your signature series into other areas as well?
Yeah we are about to announce the signing of some Australian bands, hip-hop artists and Freestyle MotoX Riders. LOJAK Religion will always be a MMA Lifestyle brand though.
Tell us a bit about the design inspiration behind Lojak. What sets the brand apart from some of the other clothing companies out there today?
You know what? We certainly didn’t invent the “oversize print/foil” combo for apparel, but I do genuinely feel that we have taken it to that next step and set ourselves apart from any other brand I have seen. Even some of the bigger brands we feel are starting to just “pump out the designs”. We spend a lot of time fine tuning our designs and everything is designed by hand by one of Australia’s leading celebrity Tattooist’s Adrian Heaps.
Any plans on invading the North American MMA Fashion market anytime soon?
We are actually at that stage right now. We are wanting to continue to build on the great success of the LOJAK Religion brand here in Australia. We have already appointed and sent our first big shipment to our UK distributor who was already pre-sold most of it. We are also featured in the coming EA SPORTS MMA Video game as a selectable sponsor and as the walkout T-shirt for top Strikeforce fighter Lyle “Fancy Pants” Beerbohm. So we are currently looking for US stockists and a distributor to launch the brand in the US. If you think LOJAK Religion deserves a chance to bang in the US marketplace please get in touch with me.
Where can fight fans get their hands on Lojak clothing?
Well of course for your Aussie readers the brand is available around the country at all top MMA clothing and streetwear stockists, for UK Readers go to collision-sports.co.uk and for our US fans and readers, please log onto lojakreligion.com! But like I said, we are looking for US stockists! Please give us a shout!!