Now that strip mall food chains
have latched on to the mobile dining trend, has the food truck jumped the shark? Though gourmet meals on wheels still abound, the gimmick may be wearing thin for some. However, a new class of truck vendors has made its appearance on the streets. Meet the latest retail development: vehicular fashion boutiques.
: One of the first cities to incubate a thriving food truck scene, Portland, fittingly, is now home to some of the freshest interpretations of mobile vending. Instead of leasing a commercial space, Lodekka owner Erin Sutherland opened her vintage shop
in a 1965 double-decker bus
. Though she stays busy each night singing with local 1930s-style jazz band The Stolen Sweets
, Sutherland conceived the idea of riffing on her town’s food truck scene with a vintage clothing cart when she lost her day job this past spring. Stocked with expertly selected thrift threads, housewares and pop culture ephemera, the bus doesn’t run
, but at least those who need a last minute holiday party dress will always know where to find it parked
: The “hot new neighborhoods”
in most major cities are constantly changing, making it riskier than ever for young entrepreneurs to lay down their roots. Although being an urban pioneer can pay off, gentrification can sometimes take longer to arrive than the profits necessary to pay off small business loans. Husband-and-wife Dan and Vanessa Lurie have avoided that conundrum by opening their new Portland boutique, Wanderlust, in a converted 1969 Cardinal Deluxe trailer
. Unlike its stationary automotive comrade Lodekka, however, Wanderlust tours the town like the food carts that inspired it. In addition to a regularly updated inventory of vintage wares for both men and women, the roving boutique also stocks a thoughtful selection of its city’s acclaimed handmade goods
Cynthia Rowley Fashion Truck
: Cynthia Rowley was one of the first
marquee designers to partner with a mass retailer—a practice that’s become so common, it’s hard to remember a time before Lanvin was sold at H&M
. Upholding her reputation as a retail trailblazer, Rowley’s courier truck-cum-boutique has been on the road for the past year, with stops in Miami, Atlanta, Texas and Arizona on its way from New York to California. The truck contains Rowley’s entire fall 2010 collection, as well as select pieces from her spring and summer lines. Proving that it’s more than a marketing ploy, the truck has partnered with several charities, including LA’s Project Angel Food
, a non-profit that prepares and delivers free meals to people affected by life-threatening diseases.