Fine Southern Gentleman Rebrands to Feels So Good in 15th Year as Austin Staple
The screen printing shop, retail store and event venue will celebrate its journey and next chapter with FSG Fest on Nov. 12
By Meher Qazilbash
Photos courtesy of FSG
Fine Southern Gentleman is now Feels So Good.
The Austin-based design shop has officially rebranded and will host their third annual FSG Fest to celebrate the change at their warehouse space this Saturday, Nov. 12.
Feels So Good, commonly referred to as FSG, specializes in screen printing, design, retail, vintage clothes, vinyl and good times. The new name upholds the reputation of the brand as something that’s difficult to pigeonhole, but always centered around art and enjoyment.
“Feels So Good represents everything that we’re trying to achieve, whether that’s the tee we’re making for you or the experience you’re having at one of our events,” says owner and co-founder Justin Weems. “It better represents the people that work here and the 100-plus artists and vendors that contribute to our store.”
Weems initially came up with the name “Fine Southern Gentleman” with his co-founder and best friend Anthony Sanchez in 2007. The duo ran a bar called The Backdoor in their hometown of Nacogdoches and needed a name under which to book shows. They decided on an inside joke in which they called themselves the last of the fine southern gentlemen, an acknowledgement of their stance as outsiders compared to the “frat guy” crowd in their town. The name stuck, and they started slapping it on flyers.
In an effort to fund The Backdoor, Weems and Sanchez also began designing unconventional and idiosyncratic T-shirts to sell. Once the bands who played at the venue started sporting the designs, the duo gained a following and saw an opportunity to turn Fine Southern Gentleman into its own entity. At this point, they packed up and moved to Austin to find a larger community.
It was a slow build to become what it is today, with FSG first existing in a series of small spaces barely large enough to hold their screen-printing apparel. Weems worked two jobs while trying to kickstart the operation and found himself spending most of his nights at bars like White Horse and Hotel Vegas, meeting bands who would eventually become his clients. Soon, Weems was doing live prints at these venues, where he built a network of fellow artists, music lovers and locals who contributed to the business’s foundation.
The style of the designs appealed to the young Austin spirit — a combination of country and rock ‘n’ roll with an offbeat flair. Not only were more people clothing themselves in FSG gear, but more perspectives started contributing to the brand’s creative side. The reputation of FSG as the place for exciting and wearable art began to spread.
“It started off with just a few people submitting designs to the site at first,” says Weems. “And when we first started, it was kind of a weird country mashup. It didn’t really have a true identity. Once we started getting more artists on board, it took its own shape.”
Weems explained that they’re not looking for one specific thing when artists submit their designs.
“I think that’s the beauty of it — the art,” explains Weems. “I think it works well because it is so eclectic and there is something there for everybody.”
Traction continued to build with the support of Austinites, along with the addition of a third business partner, Daniel Henderson. In 2016, the team opened up a shop on East 7th Street that allowed them to print designs, have retail space and host musical acts. New additions to the FSG experience emerged, including the opening of Feels So Good, a downtown record shop and a record label of the same name. While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Feels So Good record shop to temporarily close, Weems and his partners continued to grow the label.
“It started as a little passion project,” says Weems. “We were basically just loaning our friends some money to get records out and pushing as hard as we could. Everything was music-based when we started and I wanted to keep that at every shop that we’ve had.”
The label began with a couple of local bands agreeing to handshake deals and has picked up steam since then. Today, they represent and release the works of Rattlesnake Milk, JD Clark & The Stuck in the Mud Band, The Bad Lovers, Loteria, Aaron McDonnell and more.
To support the brand’s evolution, the team wanted to eliminate space limitations. Eventually, they stumbled upon the 15,000-square foot warehouse in which they are now based. Since their opening on Halloween night in 2020, FSG’s presence as a creativity hub has only flourished. The laid-back, eccentric and colorful location has become a cherished local hangout. Feels So Good hosts free music shows every Thursday, along with a selection of movie nights and comedy shows, among other happenings.
“Music is a way of interacting with people on a deeper level,” adds Weems. “It’s a community-building thing. It has the vibe of an old trailer space record shop, where you come in, catch the music, buy some records and talk to each other.”
Despite his success, Weems does not come off as a power-hungry business magnate. Instead, he possesses a humble and soft-spoken disposition, and responds to my inquiry about why he’s expanded into so many new arenas with a shrug, saying, “I get bored easily.”
With all of the expansion into new territories, the staff, aesthetic and customer base has diversified. To better reflect the accomplishments of FSG and their visions for the future, changing the name was a logical transition.
“I remember finally just stopping and looking around one day at the 40-ish people that were working in the shop around me,” says Weems. “I realized that at least half the staff, if not more, were female, trans or non-binary. Plus, the name had always been so ambiguous anyway. We’ve had people calling us wondering if Fine Southern Gentleman was a strip club. It was time for a change.”
This fête will be one of Feels So Good’s biggest events ever, featuring an incredible lineup of musicians playing on both an indoor and outdoor stage. In addition to the concerts, attendees will get to explore the offerings of vintage vendors, food vendors and even make an appointment with an onsite tattoo artist.
Browse the shop during store hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekend. For more information, visit fsgprints.com and follow @fsgprints and @fsgrecords on Instagram for all the latest updates.