Every once in a while, Darwin Morgan comes face-to-face with a piece of himself — in the form of one of his fashion creations.
The man behind Red Deer’s Fifty Caliber Clothing has put shirts on a lot of people’s backs over the past several years, as well as hoodies and other garments. Periodically, he encounters his designs while out in public.
“It’s pretty cool, actually,” said Morgan.
“I tell them they’ve got a nice shirt.”
With skulls and guns featured on much of its clothing, Fifty Caliber Clothing might be a bit too edgy for some. Most of its customers fall in the 16- to 40-year-old range, said Morgan, with motorcycle and mixed martial arts enthusiasts accounting for many.
But, he added, his designs are popular with others as well.
“I’m not trying to narrow myself down to one market.”
Born and raised in Red Deer, Morgan actually sold hoodies and T-shirts while participating in Junior Achievement’s Enterprise and Innovation program in high school. He returned to the business in 2008.
“I never actually thought I’d be selling clothing for a living, but it turned out that way,” said the 29-year-old.
Morgan creates the graphics for Fifty Caliber Clothing and then applies them to the clothing it sells. He used to do the silk-screen transfers himself, but now outsources this phase of production.
The brand can be found in downtown Red Deer at Dirtbags Inc. Morgan also sells online and at trade shows and events like the Red Deer Motorcycle Show and Pure Fighting Championship MMA bouts.
“I’m trying to get into more retail stores,” he said. “I was going to start hitting up all the little towns between Calgary and Edmonton and kind of learn the ropes of what the retail stores really want before I hit the big cities.”
Part of this process is developing designs that resonate with customers — although Morgan wants to continue producing his own unique look. So it’s not only people wearing Fifty Caliber Clothing that catch his eye, but anyone sporting something a bit different.
“When I look at pretty much any other piece of clothing that someone’s wearing, I’m always cataloguing it in my head.”
Additional information about Fifty Caliber Clothing can be found on the business’s Facebook page.