by Maddy Murray
In partnership with Prototype Vintage
“All killer, no filler.” – Prototype Vintage
As a South Congress staple for the past twelve years, Prototype Vintage has served Austinites and tourists alike with their eclectic curation of vintage clothing. With clothes for men and women and children, they truly have something for everyone. I was graced with the opportunity to meet Audrie San Miguel, co-owner of Prototype, along with Emily Larson and Sarah Evans. We sat outside of Mañana, an adorable cafe behind the South Congress Hotel, deep into our second (maybe third) cup of coffee for the day, and discussed the vintage empire that Audrie has built from the ground up.
When asked what “all killer, no filler” means to her, Audrie confided in me that “your arms aren’t going to hurt from digging in the racks. Every piece you look at you’re going to want to feel or try on or show your friends. ‘All killer, no filler’ means that you’re not going to find damaged products – there won’t be any projects for you, and everything is ready to wear. ‘All killer, no filler’ means that we are devoted to constantly finding the best of the best in vintage.”
And I take Audrie’s word for it. Prototype Vintage has been one of my personal favorites for when I’m in need of some retail therapy. I seldom have any expectations as I walk through the front doors into their vintage haven. Instead, their clothing jumps out at me and demands I take them home with me. Usually, I oblige.
For the purpose of this article, I was able to style a few outfits. Using Prototype as my own personal closet, I wandered through the bright and colorful garments that fill the store. There’s an art deco sort of vibe that kept my eyes moving at hyperspeed, desperate to not miss a single thing. Ultimately, I was drawn towards their statement pieces. A ‘60s floral pastel coat started off the first look, paired with a gold handbag and sheer heels. I dressed it down with a pair of peach denim high-waisted shorts and a tee from the classic Austin music venue, Threadgill’s. The result: a kick-ass, mod outfit to be worn anywhere, anytime.
When it comes to the styles of clothing Prototype has to offer, Audrie shares, “the only things we think about are current trends and how we can sell vintage that fits with current trends.” These more modern elements can be noted in the second outfit. The studded denim bell-bottoms and black leather mules are odes to today’s fashion. I threw on a white graphic tee of Picasso, and the look was complete with an iconic Gucci striped linen blazer.
Outfit no. 3 began with a ‘90s mini skirt. I love how it paired with the black knitted crop top, giving it an almost-grunge appeal; plus, the sleeves on the knitwear are epic. I accessorized the outfit with block heel boots, a yin and yang pendant necklace, and a vibrant silk scarf.
For the final outfit, I held onto a royal blue beret, determined to make it work. The next piece in the outfit’s puzzle was the beautiful plaid bell-sleeve coat. Because of that jacket, I now dream in primary colors… I matched it with a muscle tee with similarly colored graphics and layered a ruffled slip dress underneath. It’s the kind of outfit worthy of becoming a uniform.
When it comes to Prototype Vintage’s clothes, Audrie intends for the shopping experience to be “more about making the outfit itself cater to your own personal style.” It’s that type of self-expression that makes browsing through their vintage selection worthwhile.
It’s also one of the reasons Audrie came to be a business owner in her twenties. She tells me, “it started out with expressing myself through clothes on a budget. No matter what fashion was popular at the time, I could always find exactly what I wanted by thrifting.” As such, Audrie began to stockpile an inventory of vintage she loved but that didn’t properly fit her and, eventually, Prototype Vintage was born.
With dedication and a knack for spotting specialty pieces, Prototype Vintage transformed into the quintessential Austin boutique that it is today. Looking back, Audrie claims, “I wouldn’t say it was easy, but once I was committed to the idea laid out before us, everything fell into place. You just have to work really hard to get those pieces in place.”
As for future developments for the business, Audrie plans to update their website with garments for sale and a lifestyle blog. Furthermore, she would love the opportunity to host more community-building events and ways to help the environment both globally and locally. We are eagerly awaiting to see what is in store for Prototype Vintage in the future. In the meantime, we’ll all continue to pop into this gem every time we’re on SoCo, just to get a reminder of that “all killer, no filler.” •
*Special thanks to Prototype Vintage.
Models: Sophie Dobe, Maddy Murray
Photography: Sophie Dobe, Hanna Jennings, Maddy Murray
Clothes: Prototype Vintage
Maddy Murray is a second year Marketing major. She has been writing for Spark’s blog and magazine for the past three semesters. In her spare time, she can probably be found adventuring in the city or at home with a guitar in hand.