The Brands Are Heating Up In Texas: A List of the Best Texas Based Indie T-Shirt Brands

The Brands Are Heating Up in Texas is a guest post written by Blake from You Design It, a site that focuses on online t-shirt design.

It is heating up in Texas and I’m not just referring to the temperature. There are quite a few t-shirt lines making some noise down in the Lone Star State. There is a saying that goes every thing is bigger in Texas and there is also the saying that bigger is better. If that is the case, then does that mean that all these indie t-shirt lines from Texas are bigger and better? We’ll let you be the judge because there are a lot of brands to choose from.

We’ve profiled eight up-and-coming indie brands from Texas that we think you should check out. If you’ve already seen some of these, no worries…they are definitely worth a second look.

Grits Apparel

Grits Apparel is made just how you like it by serving tha good stuffî. Those are just two of the catchy concepts you’ll be hit with by visiting their store. The t-shirt designs in themselves are very cool but the overall experience you get when watching their creative videos and getting to know the Grits story is mind-blowing. You really feel like No Grits, No Glory after you get to know what they’re all about.

My favorite tee from Grits is the appropriately named Greasy Spoon. Iím a sucker for the dark blue/light blue combination with white but I also think the design embodies the Grits look and feel.

Sleepy Dan

Sleepy Dan is another t-shirt line much like Grits that consistently brands their theme throughout their website and store. That theme is sleep and everything related to the love of sleep. In many cases this includes having to wake up from a good sleep. Sleepy Dan is all about enjoying the sleep you get but not getting too much because work needs to get done.

My favorite shirt is Sleep Attack because the premise behind the design is that the alarm clock hates the alarm as much as we do. Now that is something I can relate to.

Fur Face Boy

Fur Face Boy was a long awaited project for its founder, Ha Mai, as he went from job to job doing graphic design at all levels of the business world. The original Fur Face Boy was actually not a boy at all, but rather a nickname for Ha’s dog named Bear Mai. As you will see on some of the t-shirts there are animated references to Bear as well as an animated character known as the Fur Face Boy.

My favorite shirt in that line is the Bear Mai Ice Pop. It’s ice cream, clever, well-designed, and it’s ice cream (intentionally repeated, enough said).

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Indie Tee Spotlight: Pyknic Clothing

I kicked off the Indie Tee Spotlight last week by highlighting Eric Terry’s brand, Linty Fresh. Now in my quest to find the next great indie tee maker to spotlight I thought I’d go straight to my mailbox and highlight a company from which I received a freshly purchased tee from. 

This week Glorious Nonsensities spotlights Indie Tee designers Andrew Marshall and Stephen Thompson of Pyknic Clothing. Marshall and his business partner, Stephen Thompson, have turned the indie tee design scene upside down since first opening up shop nearly 2 years ago. 

The Pyknic brand mantra is “Life’s a Pyknic so eat it up!” and it’s fair enough to say that their clothing line more than fits the slogan. With funky and loud t-shirt designs that sport typical things you’d find at picnic, Marshall has found a sweet spot that is as appealing to junior high kids as it is to college students. 

We were fortunate enough to chat it up with Pyknic duder Stephen Thompson.

Coty: How did you come up with the idea of using typical picnic stuff as the centerpiece of your designs and ultimately your brand?

Pyknic: Well for two years we were geared at the surf-skate-snow market. It is very hard to compete against big brands with great brand recognition on international scales (ie. Billabong, Quicksilver, etc.) with huge budgets. When we took a step back and looked at the overall picture: why would consumers or stores buy our shirt versus one by Billlabong, for instance, with similar designs? It would not matter if ours was better, they had a name to go with theirs.

So one night we went to Red Lobster and that’s when we turned our [picnic] tables. We thought of a new direction we could take the brand that was logical to our name and could create its own niche. Weird or not, people enjoy food as much as they do clothing. The two together would be dessert.

Coty: I’ve read that you use “contracted artists.” What percentage of the designs that actually make it to print are your own work as compared to those that are outsourced? 

Pyknic: A lot (if not all) of the shirts are actually concepts that we have created and thought out. We’re very fortunate to work with some great artists that can also see our vision and execute. 

Coty: You’re known in the indie tee world for making it big by actually scoring a deal with Hot Topic. How did that come about? Do you plan on connecting with other retailers? Do you have any plans for international domination?!

Pyknic: It was a last minute decision but we decided to attend Bamboozle Left. Upon returning home, I received an email from a Hot Topic buyer who was actually out at the event and loved the shirts. After a few phone call meetings, we got things rolling and eventually started putting merchandise in the stores.

I actually just got back from Magic Tradeshow and Agenda Tradeshow. There were a good amount of stores interested and either placed orders or planned on emailing that over. Right now most of our accounts are international. We have taken Europe, Asia, and Australia by storm. Most recently we distributed our newest line to all of them. 

Coty: Pyknic has turned into a nice venture for you. Do you plan on continuing the brand after college? Where do you see Pyknic in the next 3 to 5 years? 

Pyknic: Next year the Chef and I plan on moving out to California where we will be close to different production sources. Most of our products are sent out there as well so it only makes sense. 

In the next 3 to 5 years, I see us in more major US outlets with the possibility of our own.

Coty: Any words of inspiration for up and coming indie tee designers wanting to make it big?

Pyknic: I think the most important thing is to be unique. The last thing anyone wants to do is get lost in the shuffle. Very cliche but practice makes perfect, no one’s a hit overnight. 

When we started this brand three years ago, we saw ourselves in this position eventually. We knew it took a lot of work to get to this point but we were willing to do whatever it took. “If you can dream it…”

*Special thanks to Stephen for chatting it up with us! Be on the look out for next weeks Indie Tee Spotlight! And if you’re an Indie Tee Designer and would like to be featured here then please feel free to contact me to find out how you can do just that.