Audrie San Miguel knows good vintage. A self-described lifelong vintage lover, and with beginnings in a rented space within Room Service Vintage back in the ‘90s, San Miguel has been a part of the Austin vintage scene for nearly two decades. As the owner of Prototype Vintage since 2005, she’s cultivated an Austin retail mainstay.
An Austinite for 25 years, San Miguel came from humble beginnings. Raised in a low-income family in Corpus Christi, thrifting and repurposing items were concepts and skills she grew up with. She prides herself on Prototype’s mantra of “all killer, no filler!” as San Miguel and her staff strive to create a vintage selection that is well-curated, well-priced, and well-rounded. She has created a space in which there is so much (Prototype Vintage now occupies 1,600 square feet of space!), yet it still has an intimate feel of an impeccably curated vintage lover’s closet. From vintage tees to shoes and accessories to dresses and jumpsuits and now with a selection of vintage children’s clothing, there is literally something for everyone in the shop. When asked for a current favorite piece, San Miguel was hard pressed to choose just one.
Prototype Vintage has been in its current space for more than 13 years, and has witnessed the boom that Austin has experienced in that time along. Feathers Vintage opened up adjacent to Prototype at around the same time -- the shops were in fact originally part of the same space, separated only by a beaded curtain. The evolution that the neighborhood and the shop itself has undergone in the last decade-plus is astounding, and Prototype continues to grow and change along with its surroundings.
Prototype started out selling predominantly vintage furniture and housewares, with only a tiny clothing selection. As San Miguel learned her market and discovered what sold the best, Prototype Vintage slowly became a mecca for almost exclusively vintage clothing. Prototype got into events styling for the music and film industries (San Miguel’s husband is an Austin music industry paragon and co-creator of seemingly sadly defunct Fun Fun Fun Fest). Though she still does some events styling here and there, San Miguel is very selective about the projects she undertakes, with the majority of her focus on sourcing and merchandising for the shop itself.
With its signature lime green, can’t-miss-it storefront just steps from the constant bustle of South Congress, the ladies of Prototype Vintage are functionally ambassadors for the city of Austin, and it’s a role they happily embrace. A constant stream of tourists, locals, and the occasional celebrity come through the shop, and San Miguel and her staff are happy to answer questions about what to eat, where to catch a live show, and point customers to other vintage shops in town to find some treasures.
Prototype Vintage has has become a vintage shop that sets the trends rather than follows them. Their devotees know they can always come in and find something they adore, and the thrill of the hunt for stellar vintage style is a labor of love for Audrie San Miguel.
NOW WE WANNA KNOW, WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS TO SHOP? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND TELL US YOUR FAVORITE AUSTIN BOUTIQUE.
The Greer Guide to Austin is a bi-weekly column written and photographed by Liz Feezor of Liz Feezor Creative.
Greer Image Consulting loves supporting local small business, and vintage style is a daily dose of self-expression that is truly unique, sustainable, and supports a network of men and women committed to bringing the best of past style into your wardrobe.