A Look Inside BarbacoApparel’s Designs


When we launched BarbacoApparel in 2014, we had one mission: make unique “tourist” tees for people in our hometown, San Antonio.

Since then, our product line has grown to include clothing for kids, stickers, prints, totes . . . you name it! With each design, we try to explore our culture and redefine what it means to be a Texan. Sometimes our ideas our pretty straightforward, but other times they end up being what we like to call “thinkers.”

So today we talk about 4 of our designs and what inspired us to create them.

 You don’t need glasses to see what this guy's thinking about.

You don’t need glasses to see what this guy's thinking about.

Always On My Mind T-Shirt

This T-shirt was inspired by one of my favorite childhood movies, My Girl. Early on in the movie, Vada shows Thomas J. a phrenology chart in the family garage. She then goes on to analyze Thomas J’s crown, concluding that he “has no personality.”

I always wanted one of these charts when I was a kid but sadly never got one (ah, the pains of growing up in a pre-Internet world). But whatever. I went ahead and made one that is probably better than whatever was in that dusty garage.

 Guacacharro T-Shirt Design

Guacacharro T-Shirt Design

Guacacharro T-Shirt and Print

This design gets the most perplexed looks from customers. Many have asked why there’s a floating avocado in front of a charro’s face; however, art history buffs recognize the nod to a popular painting by surrealist René Magritte. In Son of Man, bowler-hat clad Magritte covers his face with a green apple. I knew early on that I wanted to do a take of his self-portrait, but instead of a bowler hat and overcoat, I opted for the sombrero and charro outfits worn by mariachis and replaced the green apple with another green fruit—the avocado.

 IKEA-inspired post card

IKEA-inspired post card

Cono de Fuego Post Card

After traveling from a work trip, Matt had developed “airplane ear,” or a condition that causes ear discomfort due to changes in air pressure. I asked my dad to set a newspaper cone on fire and help Matt out—a practice Matt hadn’t yet experienced and whose curing effects he was weary of. But through the magic of tradition, his ear was made better. We knew we wanted to showcase this Mexican treatment, el cono de fuego, in an easy how-to guide. We mimicked IKEA’s pictorial instructions, replacing their little guy with an abuelita and used as little text as possible. As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words. But if you'd like to read more about this practice, check out this blog post!


Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure Sticker

San Antonio doesn’t always get a lot of big-screen attention, but when it does, you better believe we know about it. A local favorite is Tim Burton’s cult classic Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, in which Pee-Wee travels to the Alamo City to “find” his stolen bike after receiving a bad tip from a psychic. In one memorable scene, Pee-Wee dances to “Tequila,” wearing the iconic white platform shoes seen in our sticker. I took some of my favorite moments from the movie and compiled them into a common San Antonio sighting—sneakers on power lines.

There you have it! If there's a particular design you'd like to learn more about, mention it in the comments below and we'll feature it in a future blog post!