Last weekend I stumbled upon Fashion Truck Canada, set up in the parking lot of Liberty Village. Food truck you say? No, no, the only food at this truck was the adorable candy bar set up front of it.
Following the recent food truck craze, fashion trucks have been popping up in cities across the U.S. such as L.A. and New York. The concept has been test driven in Canada, but barely. Yorkdale Shopping Centre used a fashion truck in 2012 to promote its new retailers in the downtown core. Saint John's New Brunswick had a fashion truck. But Toronto? Not so much.
Enter entrepreneurs Emily Dobbie and Ashley Barber. "I already have two physical retail stores and an online website," Emily explains, referring to her Vocado boutiques. "I see this as a great way to test new markets and bring our pieces to new markets."
The clothing and accessories are contemporary labels, the kind you can easily try on over a pair of leggings and a tank, in case Fashion Truck's one change room is booked. "We sell a lot of LA brands -- Olivaceous, De Philo, Everly, Six Crisp Days," says Emily. You can also find pieces from Alternative Apparel, Free People, Levi's, Henry and Belle, Chaser and Wildfox. Accessories? No problem. Fashion Truck carries loads - necklaces, scarves, hats, rings, headbands, sunglasses, wallets and clutches. Just don't expect to find shoes, unless they're Tkees.
So when you have two brick and mortar shops and an online boutique, why the truck? "Retail is changing and we wanted to lead the way with this new trend. I see this as a great way to test new markets and bring our pieces to new markets."
Unfortunately, Toronto's bylaws around trucks -- food, fashion or otherwise -- do not make this easy. Fashion Truck's partners have already addressed councillors at City Hall, lobbying for easier permit processes. The current (archaic) rules and the city's snail's pace to change hasn't deterred these women so far. "We're ready to fight for this and show Toronto that they need to adapt and adjust and bring this city to the next level from a unique retail perspective."