This month's fashion magazines have been flaunting the latest runway looks fresh from New York City's Fashion Week, but Fair Dinkum Fashion provides a fresh look on the latest T-shirt designs without straying too far from the Rotunda. The brainchild of University alumnus Dave Taylor and Auburn University alumnus Matt Targett, the line was founded in spring 2005 out of the Biltmore Bar and Grill, according to an e-mail from Taylor. Taylor and Targett decided on the peculiar name because it is connected to their Australian background.
According to an e-mail from Taylor, the Australian expression "fair dinkum" ranges in meaning from an expression of surprise to an acknowledgement of someone's honesty; "however, most often it means that something/someone is 'true blue' -- 'Matt's a fair dinkum bloke.'"
In their line, Targett and Taylor stated, they wanted to express an edgy, no-nonsense approach to style without taking themselves too seriously.
Neither Targett nor Taylor had a passion for anything to do with fashion before Fair Dinkum was born, Taylor stated, but their clothes have still found admirers such as fourth-year College student Kimberly Holihan, a good friend of Taylor.
"For my birthday this year, Dave sent me an amazing pair of jeans," Holihan said. "He had dyed them purple so that the jeans had a unique tie-dye affect, and then he used thick pink thread to make stars in the jeans and my name in the back."
Their designs may seem a bit on the quirky side, but Fair Dinkum is a line for anyone who feels fashion is about individuality and personal style instead of labels, Holihan said.
"I love the attitude they have," Holihan added. "It screams fun while still maintaining its edginess."
Targett stated in an e-mail that the designers stay true to their off-beat personas in order to create clothes they appreciate and are proud of.
"We've specialized in designs that no one in their right mind, except us, would want to wear," Targett noted jokingly.
Even though the line started in Charlottesville, Fair Dinkum has found its way around the world. Targett stated that when Taylor transferred from the University to Auburn, the company began to be run through its Web site.
Though the line may not be showing at Fashion Week, Taylor saw the fruits of his and Targett's labor on New Year's at a music festival.
"I was blown away when I saw a DJ with one of our 'Future Trophy Husband' T-shirts," Taylor stated, concerning an experience he had while in Sydney.
According to Taylor, the future for Fair Dinkum is unknown. The fashion line has to deal with obstacles such as running a business from different time zones and the resulting high phone bills from international calls, he stated.
Taylor and Targett noted they have seriously considered selling the business.
"My interests have changed a lot over the last three years," Taylor said. "I'd love to sell the remaining stock and donate the profits to charity."
Taylor noted he is now working on a new project: kayaking on the Murray River, the second longest river in Australia. He said once he completes his second master's degree at the University of Sydney, he will set out on his trip to raise funds and awareness for Doctors Without Borders.
While Taylor is planning his kayaking expedition, Taylor stated Targett is preparing to swim in the Beijing Olympic Trials in March and is playing drums with the band Midnight Juggernauts.
The two also hope to come back to Charlottesville at some point.
"Honestly, we'd love to come back to C-ville some time, especially if the Biltmore is still doing two buck pitchers," Taylor noted.