Fashion Freak Out

A little after 10pm on Saturday, Feb. 16, the hot, skinny hipsters were out in full force two blocks north of the Drag, at Spider House Patio Bar & Cafe (2908 Fruth, 480-9562). Young waifs with backless shirts sipped steaming mugs of soy chai lattes while strapping, mustache-bedecked UT art/philosophy majors chain-smoked and sipped glasses of $8 scotch with pursed lips. Most seemed to be having a whale of a somber, poetic time, except for those completely disheartened over not being able to get into the fashion show around the corner, at the new United States Art Authority (510 W. 29th, 476-4455). Fashion Freak Out, easily the hipsteriest event I've ever attended (and I didn't even have to go to the Beauty Bar!), was sold out. The line that snaked out the door, around the corner, as hopeful scenesters waited to get in on a one-in/one-out policy, indicated that this fashion show was worth freaking out for.

Three of Austin's trendiest vintage/resale shops – New Bohemia (1606 S. Congress, 326-1238), Prototype Vintage Design (1700 1/2 S. Congress, 447-7686), and Buffalo Exchange (2904 Guadalupe, 480-9922) – featured the stores' sexy, sexy clerks and models prancing the catwalk in stylish, used men's and women's clothing, jewelry, and accessories. The models, many of them in serious need of a sandwich, adorned hairstyles and made-up faces created by the skilled hands of the folks at Pink Hair Salon & Gallery (1204 S. Congress, 447-2888).

The glittery affair was hosted by DJs Tony Loco, Brian Tweedy of Tighten Up!, Jason McNeely of Nite Moves, and emcee Mike Weibe of the Riverboat Gamblers, himself quite fashionable in a bright-red tuxedo shirt and suspenders. Live music and a raffle benefiting the Austin Humane Society added to the night's festivities.

New Bohemia, Austin's longtime independent vintage clothing and accessories store, boasted a line of
Sixties-style sequined dresses, one black number so short I couldn't help but blush. A strapping lad in a rich, reddish-brown leather jacket made the ladies, and many men, swoon as he conquered the catwalk with confidence. White polka dots on a peach dress, star tattoos, giant beehives (thanks, Pink) – all good cases for the marriage of dated and current trends.

The highlight of Prototype Vintage Design's showcase was a bright-green, sleeveless, form-fitting, ankle-length dress hugging a pale babe with the queen of blond beehives. A couple of sexy men (bandannas and naked arms), a glittery gold cape adorning the shoulders of a petite fox, shorts over pants, and a tasteful brown, white, and green ensemble encouraged cheers from the crowd. Having never been to Prototype Vintage Design, I'm curious to see what other sequined capes I can find there.

Buffalo Exchange's line elicited the strongest cheers from the fashion-hungry crowd. I wasn't too surprised. Though I enjoy making fun of the type of people (faux-punk, judgmental but trendy) who shop at Buffalo Exchange, many of whom patronize Spider House across the street, I buy most of my clothes there (guilty-pleasure alert). Though they seem to be overpriced for being used, the clothes are, without a doubt, cool, and the store carries a giant range of sizes because the clothes are second-hand and therefore are not tailored to only three different types of bodies. Among the female, tatted-up models, thick, sparkly leggings - gold and black – were very much the trend. A short, beaded black dress; a hot, colorful, backless dress; and sequins, sequins, sequins carried the overall showcase. Much hollering erupted for a certain Buffalo employee wearing a tight, white, almost see-through shirt. Another man modeled a quirky shirt featuring a portrait of a city. I was unimpressed with the line overall, considering the racks and racks of classy, unique clothing the story carries. And though it seems that "party tights" (cough cough American Apparel) are quite in these days, I just can't get into the leg-warmer/long-baggy-shirt combo as an acceptable "new" fashion statement. But as I tried to fight my way out of the crowd still snaked around the USAA building, I imagined some of these legging-clad, hippie/hipster folks might disagree with me.

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