Good Ol’ Dubyuhnell Matt Bartini ’12 offers favorite scenes of W&L on his custom shirts.
“The W&L Blue scenes rendered in ink-pen drawings on a crisp, white background were chosen to appeal to our entire tight-knit community of classmates, teammates, alumni, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, faculty members and the like who walk among these old buildings daily and continue to give the university its vibrancy.”
~Matt Bartini ’12
It really is possible to wear your heart on your sleeve.
This September, Matt Bartini ’12, dropped off the first batch of Good Ol’ Dubyuhnell, custom button-downs made in the USA by his company, Mayor Clothing, created exclusively for the University Store. The shirt features iconic scenes of W&L’s campus and student life, a piece that showcases his love for W&L.
For this shirt, he thought about the moments and places alumni talk about from their time in Lexington. Is it exploring the Virginia countryside with your best college friends, hiking House Mountain, floating down the Maury or watching the sunset behind the sorority houses from Cadaver Bridge? Or recurring experiences, such as strolling through campus from Lee Chapel through the Colonnade, across Cadaver Bridge all the way to the Ruins.
Bartini created his wearable artwork based on those memories. “The goal of any piece we create is for it to speak directly to the people whose story we are telling so they can wear it and share those stories,” he explained. “It’s like when you hear an old song and are immediately taken back in time to when you first heard it. It happens to me every time I listen to The Band or Van Morrison — I always think of my time in Lexington and good ol’ Dubyuhnell.”
Bartini, an economics major and math minor, is the founder and sole owner of Mayor Clothing in Atlanta. His clients have included school stores, wedding couples, resorts, golf course pro shops, clothing stores, yacht clubs and festivals. Each story is illustrated by a local artist, and the custom, upscale garments he creates, including button-downs, quarter-zips and performance polos, each feature local scenes. It is something to wear to brunch, happy hour and group dinners. “It’s a great way to show where you’re from, where you’ve been and who you are, plus it’s an easy conversation starter,” said Kyle McGinnis ’12, a longtime Mayor customer.
The idea for his company first came to Bartini on New Year’s Day 2015 when he was visiting Charleston, South Carolina, for his friend’s annual get-together and wanted a Hawaiian-style, button-down shirt with a Charleston design to commemorate the fun he had on the trip. Hawaiian shirts have long been iconic symbols of tropical destination vacations and tiki parties, and their dressy-casual vibe was popular with Bartini and his classmates. “They’re comfortable like your favorite t-shirt, but a touch more formal. They’re like go-to-hell pants, which I think Tom Wolfe ’51 coined,” explained Alex Sturges ’12, who was also on Bartini’s Charleston trip.
While working as a consultant for Accenture, Bartini kept wondering, “How do you even make a Hawaiian shirt?” After reading Dale Hope’s classic coffee table book for Hawaiian-shirt enthusiasts, “The Aloha Shirt,” he was inspired by those originals which paint a vivid picture of Hawaii and the remote Pacific island’s unique culture. “I wanted to emulate the best of the Aloha shirt storytelling tradition, level of detail and artistic quality and apply it to my friend’s stories — like that New Year’s trip to Charleston.”
Before Bartini started, he asked friends, family and “anyone I could find on Instagram” for the stories they wanted to see illustrated on clothing. Many shared college stories, and many included memories of W&L.
He listened to his target market and attempted to create a button-down he named Houston Street after a beautiful country road off Route 11. Bartini believed it epitomized bucolic Rockbridge County. It was also a favorite running trail of his and his father, Mike Bartini, director of Financial Aid from 1979-1983. However, that piece was never fully released. “My execution of taking a story, having an artist illustrate it, then adapting it to fabric for a button-down was all wrong — the color, sizing, spacing and scenes just did not work, but I learned a lot from that failed attempt,” Bartini said.
It wasn’t until Bartini tapped into another important resource — W&L’s Entrepreneurship Summit where he could network with other alumni and access the talents of students in the Venture Club — that his W&L button-down began to take shape.
By the 2018 summit, the fourth he had attended, he had seven pieces in his line, and he needed help creating a W&L button-down. “My project was actually rejected by the Venture Club in ’17, but the next year three sophomores in the club, who were also from my old fraternity — my target market — were nice enough to choose my project the second time around,” Bartini said.
Jack Jones ’21, Alex David ’21 and Billy Linthicum ’21 picked up the project and ran with it. “We asked hundreds of W&L students around campus what they liked about the button-downs in their wardrobe, what W&L scenes they loved most and what colors epitomized W&L,” said Jones. “That last one was easy. Everyone said, ‘Blue and White.’”
A unique aspect of Mayor’s pieces is the artwork Bartini commissions from local artists. A portion of each sale goes directly to the artist to ensure they are compensated fairly for their artwork and can continue to create.
Jones introduced Bartini to Missy Barro ’21, an art major, who drew the scenes of campus life and the surrounding landmarks that are near and dear to the W&L community’s hearts. “Her work blew me away,” said Bartini. “Whenever I start work on a particular piece, I look for a local artist intimate with the story’s area and culture — the authenticity shows in the final product.”
Barro was the perfect local artist for Good Ol’ Dubyuhnell. She said she “loves W&L for its Greek Revival architecture and rich history of tradition, honor and civility. I fell asleep drawing these little blue beauties and had dreams of Lee Chapel.” Barro chose a timeless style since “W&L is as rooted in the valley of Virginia as the farmland, rolling hills and Blue Ridge Mountains off in the distance.”
Bartini noted, “The W&L Blue scenes rendered in ink-pen drawings on a crisp, white background were chosen to appeal to our entire tight-knit community of classmates, teammates, alumni, sorority sisters, fraternity brothers, faculty members and the like who walk among these old buildings daily and continue to give the university its vibrancy.”
Matt Bartini continues to illustrate many more of your stories on clothing, please visit his website at mayorclothing.com and contact him at email@example.com or 339-206-2111 to have Mayor illustrate your story on clothing.