Online shops and t-shirt contests (with rock music in the background)

Good morning folks! 

Let’s take a short break from Interviews (we aren’t done yet!) and dedicate this entry to our favourite hobbies: online shopping and contests! After all, we cannot just talk to people all the time, can we? You have to do something else too. Variety is the spice of e-commerce as they say!

Running a promotion for a band is a dream come true to some, just like playing music is for others. You do it for the sake of it, because you have love and passion and a ton of ideas that you just can’t wait to put out there. Meeting people who can influence you or who can team up with you on a project is a bonus.

At the end of 2010, Rita and I discovered a band called Ascension of The Watchers. It is a side project of  Burton C Bell (of Fear Factory and City of Fire) and John Bechdel (of False Icons, Arado, Ministry and Killing Joke fame). Those two teamed up to create one of the most mesmerizing bands in a decade.

Picture of the AoTW tshirt, digital polaroid by Malicia Dabrowicz

There is always a thrill when we get into a new band. Research, looking for information, reading lyrics, finding references in the music is part of a charm. Or to put it simple – the more information we gather, the better. We like to know a lot. And we know our music quite well, thank you very much.

We loved AoTW from the first notes as we have a soft spot for Burton C Bell’s music (being a Fear Factory fans for seventeen years now). Soon it became our hobby to dig up articles and reviews as the band was not widely known. Well Rita and I are always up to a challenge and sometimes it just pays off in a most fantastic way.

It must have been May 2011 when Rita stumbled upon an online shop called Renegade T-shirts. Their official website can be accessed here:

Rick modeling one of the AoTW tshirts that are available in the store

It was owned by a man named Rick Ferdinande and to my delight it offered official merchandise for AoTW. I have written to him and asked for quotations. I had my answer nearly immediately and the owner of the shop assisted me with various issues that arose when placing my order (he had to reset his shop twice so a payment from Malta would be accepted, among many other things).

I have bought two t-shirts and got to know the owner a little bit better. Rick must be a chronicler for AoTW, Fear Factory and other acts. He is also a personal friend of Burton and one of the most professional sellers I have known in my life. Check his ratings, he haven’t got one bad word from his customers. And righty so.

What are ya looking at? Mal is a metal head!

I have been wearing my AoTW shirts with pride throughout the summer. By the time October arrived, Rita and I were fully integrated into promoting AoTW and Burton`s other project City of Fire, running fan groups and doing a million of other things (I will address those things in a post in the future, it is so much of it).

Few weeks before Halloween, I have contacted Rick again, this time to purchase a t shirt for a friend. He not only helped me again with the order, but knowing that the friend was going through a rocky time, he had offered an extra in the form of a signed FF gig poster to the purchase. It was a really fantastic experience. But the best thing happened one week later.

We spoil our friends, you know! Come and say hello, we have cookies and rock t-shirts too!

Rick approached me and mentioned that Burtonwas thinking of organizing a contest for AoTW fans. The contest was to design a new shirt for the band official merch and that Burton himself would judge.

Both of us were really excited to be allowed to execute the master plan. Rita had prepared the Terms and Conditions of the contest and we have uploaded it on the AoTW fan group (the community has its own poetic name – Hotel Ascension). The members of the group were then submitting their designs.

AoTW T shirt contest rules announced!

We have gathered eight designs (one of them was mine) in total and it was a really inspiring collection. The entries can be seen HERE

Voting took place in January 2012 (contest deadline being 31 December 2011) and two winners have been announced: Canadian artist David J Mazur and (to my surprise) Malicia Dabrowicz from Malta.

Amazing contest entry by David J Mazur from Canada
You can find him on Facebook:

It came a bit of a shock but it was nonetheless something extremely positive as I have never won a contest before (if you don’t count a ticket to a Mercyful Fate / King Diamond gig when I was 16 ^^) and I was the only one who actually submitted a photo for a design. A true ego booster, speaking from a perspective of an aspiring photographer and a fan of Ascension of The Watchers.

“Evading” – a winning photograph by yours truly Mal D. of Malta

The whole contest will be  remembered fondly. We have learned a ton of stuff, how to promote the event, how to encourage other artists to take part and how to believe in one’s abilities in my case. We have also learned a lesson that best things can come out brilliantly of thin air if you are working with the right people. And we consider Rick Ferdinande to fall under this category.

A bonus photo of Burton C Bell wearing one of the Renegade Tshirts.
That’s how renegade they are!

If you want to familiarize yourself with Renegade T-shirts, they are on Facebook under this address:!/pages/Renegade-T-Shirts/111375302251379

Rick Ferdinande himself can be also followed here:!/rferdinande

So long for now, we have a many rock-n-roll stories coming up your way so stay tuned.

Mal (& Rita as she always tags along)

Blues for a t-shirt

Blues for a T-shirt


How many times in your life have you heard this question: Are you interested in fashion? Some of you probably have heard it too many times; some haven’t heard it at all. For us, fashion is not only the way people dress. It is not about accessories, high heels, hats, scarves or jewellery. We do not look at sizes, patterns or shapes – we treat it as yet another medium of expression. Only in recent years, others realized something that has been obvious for us from the very beginning. Fashion is a form of art. For a dress you can pay as much as for a painting. Alexander MacQueen is a genius just like Jackson Pollock or Alphonse Mucha, and there is nothing but the truth about it.

We cannot remember when exactly we started creating out own clothes. In elementary school, we would create crazy outfits from various odds and ends. Hand painted hair bands, necklaces made from white dyed horse-chestnuts or dry berries were hits among our friends in high school. Mal produced tens of friendship bracelets from multi coloured wool as gifts for holidays and birthdays and even sewn a logo of Fear Factory that Rita proudly displayed on her school bag. We would also design and complete our own Halloween costumes and later cosplay outfits for manga conventions. Outgrown prom dress was turned into Ayane costume from Dead or Alive series and an old wedding dress helped us to become a witch for a fantasy convention meeting. Taking part in summer LARP games was a bit of hard work but then, we would play as a wild cat (in a fur bikini) and an apprentice elementalist.

Mal taking part in a LARP session at Gladion convention

Rita at LARP session at Gladion

If we lacked the skills, then we would hire a professional tailor or look for a different solution. Turning into Maya from “Parasite Eve” took us to an opera house from where we borrowed a real velvet stage dress used by opera singers that weighted 12 kilograms!

Mal at Asucon convention cosplaying as Lucca of Chrono Trigger


 Becoming Lucca from “Chrono Trigger” required borrowing a yellow karate gi from a martial art club and a bike helmet. Imagination has always helped us to take the first cosplay prizes home 🙂

Mal and Rita cosplaying as Maya and Aya of `Parasite Eve` at Asucon convention

 From all our creations, we always enjoyed making the t-shirts the most. For hours, we would sit in the kitchen, sketching designs on breakfast paper and coming up with various funny slogans and come back lines. In high school, we were buying plain black shirts and then decorating them using house bleach. We have created shirts for every occasion and purpose. A shirt with writing “LOST Angeles” on it was used as an outfit for a movie premiere of “Escape from L.A”. During long and boring school days we would wear tee saying “De profundis clamavi ad te Domine” in the front and “…Get me OUTTA here!!” in the back. Our favourite shirts were the ones we made for Ozzfest festival in Katowice. Mal has presented herself to Sharon Osbourne wearing a shirt saying “East of West, Ozzfest’s best” and Rita was sitting on Coal Chambers’s equipment shuffling her feet, having on a shirt that was screaming “I’m not going to heaven, I’m going to Ozzfest!”.

Mal circa 1996 wearing Lost Angeles T-shirt

Today, using a house bleach is not the best (and the most fashionable!) way to create a shirt. For a new project, we came up a unique design. It is called “Archetype-Replica” and consists of two shirt design.

The first called simply “Archetype” is made on a cold pressed paper using ecoline, acrylic paints, glitter and glue. The writing has been created using letters cut from a thin paper and then glued to the surface before the background was painted. The letters were then removed revealing the graffiti type logo and covered with varnished to harden the entire design.

Design for `Archetype`shirt by Rita

The red colour means blood and fighting for freedom.

 If you want to see this design at Rita`s Deviant Art account please click:


The close up of the Archetype logo shows the structure of the paper and the faint lines where the letters have been attached before:

design by Rita

or alternatively please click  HERE

The second design is called Replica – this is Rita’s favourite. The colours symbolize transgression, or passing maybe. This is calmer side of things. Post fighting period that is like water, calm but also very dangerous.

Design by Rita

For a better copy please click below to visit Rita`s Deviant ART account:


Replica has been made with ecoline, acrylics, watercolours and ink on cold pressed paper. The logo is also graffiti like.

Close up for Replica design by Rita

Alternatively please click below to see the design close up:


The artworks will be scanned in high resolution and then printed professionally on t-shirts.

The final result will be also posted on the blog.

 But this is a theme for another entry and for another day.

 For now enjoy this short and sweet blues for a t-shirt 🙂

Rita and Mal