Eclectic-chic dresses and shirts, retro furs and other long-dormant designs will make a comeback tonight as purveyors of vintage fashion in Austin send their best designs down the runway at The Mohawk.
Local vintage stores including Prototype Vintage Design, Buffalo Exchange and New Bohemia will present the second annual Fashion Freakout to illustrate that reworked outfits of past eras can be contemporary and fun.
“We’re not doing this to be vintage. It’s all current,” said Jason McNeely, co-founder of Freakout.
McNeely and fellow co-founder Audrie San Miguel, who also owns Prototype Vintage, decided in 2007 to host a show that focused on fashion but incorporated some of Austin’s live music scene. This year’s event will feature various DJ sets and bands.
On Monday, San Miguel and McNeely sat on a couch in Prototype’s mock living room, which looked like it had weathered decades of changes, and recalled the show’s beginnings.
“Calling it a fashion show felt stuffy,” San Miguel said. “It’s fun, and by calling it a ‘freakout,’ we’re paying homage to the psychedelic freak-outs of the past.”
But both said students have always been at the heart of the vintage fashion community.
“Where there’s students, there’s musicians, artists and free-thinking people,” McNeely said.
The allure of vintage clothing for students begins in their wallets.
“[Students] do have a limited budget most of the time, and when buying vintage, your money goes a lot further,” San Miguel said. “The slowest time of the year for us is when students aren’t here.”
Both McNeely and San Miguel had been involved in the Austin music scene for years before they decided to organize the event, which features some of the city’s predominant vintage stores.
San Miguel was a vintage dealer at Room Service Vintage for seven years and bartended at Emo’s for eight before starting Prototype on South Congress Avenue in 2005.
McNeely, a veteran socialite, became a part of the music community through years of promoting his own bands and deejaying at local bars.
They both believe vintage wear, like all fashion, is about appreciating and recycling the carefully crafted designs of the past into a contemporary style.
“We’ve put all of our [rock ‘n’ roll] influences and experiences together to create something that encompasses a tidbit of fashion and music,” San Miguel said. “[Freakout] illustrates how relevant vintage style is to culture today.”
Austin comedian Matt Bearden will host this year’s celebration. San Miguel and McNeely will also incorporate a black-and-white photobooth and a dance party afterward to create a “glamorous spectacle.”
“We’ve also added some pyrotechnics,” McNeely said with a chuckle. “Not really, I’m just kidding.”