BY EMILY BASTAROLI, POINT PARK NEWS SERVICE
EDITED BY LIZ PETONIAK
A blue blouse with glimmering gold buttons hangs on a rack of colorful, unique clothing outside the Style Truck, enticing shopper Brittany Bauer to take a closer look. Inside, the truck holds even more fashion treasures, from patterned dresses and sweaters, to workout gear, handmade jewelry, and handbags. A “cat dress” catches Bauer’s eye.
“It’s just so cute and unique,” says Bauer. “There’s a big variety — something I could wear, something my mother could wear. The prices are good. I know I’m getting good quality. I know I’ll get a good wear out of [the clothes].”
The Style Truck, typically parked near 23rd Street and Penn Avenue in the Strip District, is one of four “fashion mobiles” launched in Pittsburgh. Owner Jackee Ging of Scott Township was one of the first to stake a claim on this trend. After seeing a New York City fashion truck in InStyle Magazine a year ago, Ging decided to start one in her city. She “pimped out” her truck to resemble a boutique with cabinets built into both sidewalls, shelves for jewelry displays, a fitting room, and hardwood floors. “It seems to be a trend popping up in different cities,” says Ging. “I thought the idea was brilliant.”
Much like popular food trucks, “fashion mobiles” bring their goods to customers, rather than the other way around. Ging says the Style Truck’s customers are women on-the-go. They appreciate unique fashion and are “tired of chain stores.” And, her customers pay attention to social media, too. Bauer visited a second time to buy an orange coat she saw on its Facebook page.
Samantha Lugo’s truck, Broke Little Rich Girl, serves a slightly different clientele. Lugo, a 20- something Manhattan native, says her clients are between the ages of 18 and 40, and seek a mix of trendy, contemporary, edgy, yet girly clothes and accessories all at affordable prices. The name — and theme of the business — strives to show customers that they don’t have to spend a lot of money to look good.
“You can be broke but still look like a million bucks,” says Lugo. Dressed in a bright turquoise T- shirt graced with Marilyn Monroe’s glamour shot, black skinny jeans, and black wedge sneakers, her petite figure stands at about 5-foot-3-inches. So, yes, she’s as “little” as the truck’s name would imply.
A fashion truck in New York also inspired Lugo. She originally wanted to open a brick-and-mortar shop, but while at a fair in Chelsea, she saw a boutique truck, thought it was “the coolest thing,” and knew she had to bring the idea to Pittsburgh.
She started planning in March of 2013 and opened the following July. On the weekends, Broke Little Rich Girl frequents the same parking lot in the Strip as Ging’s truck. It also occasionally travels to South Side and Shadyside, and participates in festivals. Lugo says she wants to expand and her dream is to have trucks everywhere.
Though these trucks and two others — The Vintage Valet and Roadie Fashion Truck — are new, they’ve already caused a stir amongst Pittsburghers. The Style Truck took part in Pittsburgh Fashion Week this year, and customers begged Ging to park Downtown.
To keep the customers coming back, Lugo adds new merchandise every two weeks. “The novelty of the truck wears off, so you have to have good stuff in it,” she says.
Though the clothes differ in style, there is another common thread between these fashionistas — they love their trucks. “I fill my truck up with stuff I’d want to wear,” says Lugo, pulling studded jackets and pants off the racks for emphasis. “It’s like my dream closet.”