Austin fashion show draws vintage looks and a rowdy crowd

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Photo Credit: Andreina Velazquez | Daily Texan Staff

The word “recycling” might bring aluminum cans and cardboard boxes to mind, but the cyclical motion of reuse does not stop with these items. Vintage fashion, especially in Austin, has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and Friday’s Fashion Freakout Five is proof of the city’s vintage fanaticism.

Five years ago, local musician Jason McNeely approached Audrie San Miguel, co-owner of vintage store Prototype Vintage Design, to create an event that would showcase the best of street-style fashion. After months of collaboration, their work was realized and became Fashion Freakout, a runway show featuring vintage clothes backed up by local music.

“The first show sold out immediately, so we knew there was definitely interest in seeing hot babes in a party setting outfitted with crazy cool decorations,” San Miguel said.

Prototype is one of three participants in the fashion show, which also includes styles from Buffalo Exchange and Charm School Vintage. Each store will showcase twenty looks: 10 in round one, which is followed by a DJ set and the last half in round two.

“Our outfits are an example of Austin street-style with an emphasis on leather and light denim for one round, and sheer fabrics for another,” San Miguel said. “We hope that the clothes we put together are a representation of what you might see on a stylish person going to a live music show in Austin.”

The three collections stem from diverse inspirations, but they will all come together through the show’s rock ‘n’ roll theme. The music will be the guiding force behind the show. San Miguel said that celebrating the marriage between music and fashion was one of the main reasons she and McNeely started Fashion Freakout.

The psychedelic sounds of the ‘60s, the rock ‘n’ roll and punk of the ‘70s and the heavy metal and new wave of the ‘80s will all be represented alongside the ensembles on the catwalk.

“As far as the stage design and party decor, we’re always inspired by the sets from music variety shows from the past like ‘Soul Train,’ ‘American Bandstand’ and ‘The Midnight Special,’” San Miguel said.

And while the show will take on a funky and rebellious edge on one hand, it will soften up with sensibilities of the ‘30s on the other. Shari Gerstenberger, owner of Charm School Vintage, has embraced a turn of the century, jazz-themed inspiration for her collection.

“There’s a lot of ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s stuff that’s really easy to come by, but I really love the craftsmanship, cuts and fabrics from this stuff from the ‘30s,” Gerstenberger said.

The stylist’s outfits are representative of vamps and flappers, like a “Ziegfeld Follies” showgirl.

“It’s period-related, but it’s no good to have museum pieces. All vintage is more interesting in the context of mixing it in with different eras and modern things,” Gerstenberger said. “It’s my interpretation through a rock ‘n’ roll lens, while trying to get an audience reaction.”

For Gerstenberger’s collection, audiences can expect to see neutrals with injections of vibrant color along with a variety of texture combinations like sequins, silk, leather and fur.

English senior and Buffalo Exchange shopper James Morua found his inspiration through classic colors and the juxtaposition between hard and soft. Morua said he’s been able to pull pieces from the everyday clothes people sell to the store, finding inspiration in miscellaneous items.

“I think the combination of items that are very ethereal paired with more rough and tough accessories are great,” Morua said.

The first set of looks will be more accessible as far as everyday wearability goes. Morua said since Buffalo Exchange will close the show, the second set of looks is intended to be high-fashion.

Freakout differs from other fashion shows because it’s much more high-energy,” Morua said. “The models and people watching the show are encouraged to have fun, be loud and get rowdy.”

Printed on Friday, March 2, 2012 as: Fashion Freakout: Local Musician partners with store co-owner to offer vintage runway show