Interview & Ticket Giveaway: FASHION FREAKOUT

Alright friends. There is something happening on Friday that I am so excited about, it requires all of my willpower to not inundate you with exclamation points right now.  It’s a snappy fashion event here in Austin called Fashion Freakout, and let me tell you – freaked (the eff) out is precisely what I did last year when I went.

Now in its third year running, but its second year at the Mohawk, Fashion Freakout is the brainchild of Jason McNeely and Audrie San Miguel, owner of Prototype Vintage off South Congress.  The show styles local Austin cuties in second-hand wares from vintage shops, sending Austin’s rock n’ roll fashion down the runway in street style spirit.  What’s so great about the whole thing is, even though a few of the outfits are deliberately over-the-top (think blouses made of chainmail), all ensembles are literally pulled right off the racks of local, affordable recycled clothing stores. The looks are edgy, but accessible; eccentric, but sexy as hell.

Fashion Freakout 2009, photo credit: Me!

Audrie was sweet enough to do an interview with Austin Eavesdropper last year about the event, and this year, she’s back to tell us about the surprises they’ve got in store for FF 2010. The Carrots? Check. Crazy psychedelic light show? Check check.
After Audrie, enter a comment below for a chance to win a pair of tickets (valued at $20) to Fashion Freakout. I’ll select a winner by 3pm Friday.  Just leave your name, email, and answer this question: What’s your favorite fashion item in your closet?
Here we go!

Welcome, Audrie! Tell us about Fashion Freakout 2010. Who’s participating, what’s new for this year’s show, etc.  Also, give us a brief history of this smorgasbord of awesomeness.
For the third year running, Fashion Freakout will feature style for miles from Prototype Vintage Design, New Bohemia and Buffalo Exchange.  There are a few new and exciting additions to the event this year, including Avant Salon and Spa, who have been coming up with some amazing hair and make-up ideas.  We’re also hosting a “happy hour” with rock-n-roll DJ sets and a black and white Proto-Photo Booth snapped by Alison Narro that’ll have a vintage theme.  The Carrots, one of the most well dressed bands in town, will play two special sets, and Matt Bearden will host for the first time, fresh off of a comedy tour.
The stage and runway design, created by Prototype and Ace San Miguel, will be bigger and better this year, with a lighting installation that’s gonna get some rocks off.  We have several vintage lighting machines operated by a professional technician that will create the perfect atmosphere for a psychedelic freakout!

Three years ago, Jason McNeely and I wanted to collaborate on an event where we could spotlight fashion in the local underground music scene.  Naturally, vintage is an Austin style staple, because it’s affordable and one of a kind.  Each of us agreed that we bought the majority of our wardrobes from Buffalo Exchange, New Bohemia and Prototype, so we threw together a runway show in a rock-n-roll setting!

Why host a vintage fashion show?  Why do you think that theme appeals particularly to Austinites?
Austin has a very relaxed vibe when it comes to fashion.  The artists, musicians, students, and creative business owners that are the life and blood of the music capital of the world aren’t label-conscious mall-shoppers.  They are eco-responsible independent folks that feel good about recycling fashion, standing apart in a crowd, supporting local businesses, and doing so on a limited budget.  The appeal of vintage is far and wide, and every fashionable retailer carries styles influenced by the past.  The difference is that in Austin, people young and old prefer buying the original styles to the mass re-produced knockoffs. 

This is a little off-topic, but I’ve always wondered how you got Prototype Vintage off the ground. It really is an amazing store. How did you even begin to envision it, and slowly move from dream to actual badass shop?
Wow, it’s always rad to hear our store described as “badass!”  Eleven years ago, I got my start as a vintage vendor at Room Service, which is still my favorite store in Austin.  At the time, me and my best bud Emily Larson would scheme and dream about having a vintage store where everything was organized and arranged in an inviting and inspiring way.  We wanted to provide a vintage shopping experience where everything for sale was what we would consider to be a highlight item, merchandised in an environment similar to the great department stores of London in the swingin’ sixties.
When a space became available in the popular South Congress shopping district, we jumped at the chance to start our own business, and Prototype was born, with the slogan we live and breathe by: All killer, no filler!
Since we opened in 2005, we have had the luxury of expanding to include a storefront devoted to the best in vintage home décor, and a flagship location with a focus on vintage fashion for men and women.  We are a family business since my little brother Ace San Miguel and his woman Sarah Evans merged their La Luz location with Prototype in 2008.
With our new set-up, we have more creative minds to contribute to our side business of set styling and wardrobe for print, film and television, and our decorating services for special events keep our work fun, interesting, and challenging. 
Prototype’s merchandise rocks so hard because we have people all over the country scouring the most unglamorous of locales to find true rare vintage gems.  Our combined experience in the biz has helped us to create a network of friends and colleagues committed to contributing the best of the best.
I asked you this last year and will ask you again: What’s the best fashion item you’ve ever thrifted?
My buttery brown leather Frye boots from the 70’s match everything I own and I’ve had them resoled too many times to count, but they just get better with age.  I’ve hiked mountains, trudged through muddy music festivals, and cut a rug on many a dance floor in those iconic boots.  They’re truly versatile and comfortable!
Do you have any last words on Fashion Freakout?
I encourage everyone to buy tickets in advance because they’re going fast!  It’s such a huge production, between models, entertainers, stylists, hair and make-up, and store staffs, the amount of people just supporting the participants is enough to sell this baby out!
Thank you for the interview, Audrie!