If you’re not a fan of lacrosse, following Paul Rabil on Instagram will make you one. Between his appearance (6-foot-3, 220 pounds and facial hair that makes #beardgoals feel like it should be a thing), his intense workouts (his leg muscles deserve their own IG account) and his surprising flair for fashion (his best accessory is his chest hair), the Premier Lacrosse League‘s star midfielder was born to be a social media influencer. Just ask his 353k+ followers.
We reached out to the 33-year-old co-founder of the PLL to ask him all about his style on — and off — the field.
Were you always into fashion?
I’ve always enjoyed fashion, but have had fewer opportunities to showcase my imagination out of the historically low popularity of pro lacrosse — versus basketball, football or soccer.
With the inception of the Premier Lacrosse League, we’ve underscored the importance of player narratives, team culture and fashion on game weekends — even giving our players’ red carpet opportunities to showcase their style and creativity.
I grew up in the arts. My mom was an art teacher, I took music and acting classes in school. Self-expression is important to me, and I think fashion can not only demonstrate creativity, but can be a forum to advocate for what you believe in.
How would you describe your style?
I try to imagine and create either a combo of Euro sport, American streetwear and NY runway fashion, or choose one and go all-in. Most of what I wear starts with either a fashion trend, geography or show concept, then into product fit, then color and accessories.
Do you work with a stylist?
I do most of my own styling — for better or worse. Though I’ve received plenty of creative and artistic insight from my younger sister, Rebecca, who works for Gucci — as well as one of my co-workers, Katie DeFeo, publicist, Alyssa Romano, and friend, Danielle Bernstein, who’s a designer and Instagram trendsetter.
Who are your style icons?
There are a number of style icons I look to for inspiration, particularly in music and sports. Icons who stylize with purpose and mission — like Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams, David Beckham, Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams and Kanye West.
You have eloquence and class in style from players like Michael Jordan, Henrik Lundqvist, Conor McGregor and Tom Brady — mostly in suits. Then there are abstract fashion icons like Megan Rapinoe, Maggie Vessey, Neymar, Paul Pogba, Miles Chamley-Watson and Russell Westbrook who take their ideas and runways to new possibilities for athletes.
Where do you shop?
I like to pull from brands like Zanerobe, Gucci, Zara, Supreme, KITH, Hugo Boss, Raga Man and Tom Ford — then add on accessories whether it’s from a vendor on the street selling mala beads or a David Yurman bracelet.
What’s your favorite outfit you’ve worn on a red carpet so far?
I had fun at the Kentucky Derby this year in a custom suit made by my friends at Christopher Schafer Clothier in Baltimore, matched with an orange Derby-themed Hugo Boss belt, Stance American Flag socks, a Gucci tie and clip, Magnanni shoes, a Goorin Bros hat and Spitfire lenses.
Did you know that tie-dye is a huge trend right now when you chose it for the PLL All Star uniform?
One hundred percent. When we worked with Adidas to design our 2019 All-Star Game jerseys we looked at concepts that would fit the vibe of hosting in Los Angeles — “street to field” and “city vs. surf.”
Our “street to field” concept was the tie-dye look and our “city vs. surf” concept was a patterned Louis Vuitton theme with a custom LA font and goat, star, and drip emojis running up and down the kit like a step and repeat. The latter still may make an appearance down the road.
How are you and your teammates redefining the traditional LAX style?
For as long as professional lacrosse had previously been around, there wasn’t a platform that gave a runway to our players’ to showcase their style. All athletes come from different backgrounds and upbringings and it’s incumbent on the game’s stars to tell those stories — often through style — and as an outcome, welcome the next generation of players’ to do the same.