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The Sights and Shirts of This Weekend's Texas Teezilla Expo.

By Heather Abbott on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 5:46 PM

It may have rained like crazy on Saturday, but Texas Teezilla pushed forward nonetheless, showcasing some of Dallas' most dedicated graphic T-shirt designers and brands -- and dozens of them at that.

It was the second year of the event -- in this case, an all-day, all-ages, free affair inside of the Quixotic World space in Deep Ellum -- and, really, you could tell the difference. Host and brand owner of Lies and Filth, J. Kaamani, had the event mapped out well, with well-defined space for brands, talented musical acts and supreme raffle giveaways.

The only thing missing, unfortunately? Much of a crowd.

The constant rain on Saturday no doubt had quite a hand in that. But it was these folks' loss, to be sure. Brands seemed to up their game for this event, and each had plenty of new product to share with their local supporters. Those that ventured out into the storm were able to get up close and personal with the brand owners.

Perhaps that was a positive, actually. Due to the unfortunate weather, the event ran more like a meet-and-greet and less like an expo. Brand owners mingled and traded business ideas. Patrons were also able to get the whole brand story with their purchases. Designers had the time to share what made their brands work.

To that end, old and new brands alike impressed at Teezilla. Fresh Kaufee took to live drawing while manning his shop. Stem & Thorn took to painting miniature canvases for his fans. Austin brand Krank Empire kept busy selling their "up-cycled" T-shirts -- something new that no local brand had dared to do at any of the local expos before.

The event also offered up intimate musical performances from area emcees Tunk, Dustin Cavazos and -topic. Each set was short and sweet, with the performers delivering despite the small crowds.

Yes, even with the underwhelming attendance, Texas Teezilla still ran like a charm. Locals and creatives were open and positive toward one another, and many stories (business-related or not) were shared.

There's something special going on in Texas with all of these young startups. And it's finally showing.

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