The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Vintagemobile brings vintage clothing to new audiences on the go.

Jeremy Turner drives a big, green school bus. He isn’t ferrying students between their homes and schools; instead Turner chaperones a busload of vintage clothing in the Vintagemobile, hoping they find their way into a local fashion lover’s closet.

“It’s a fun experience. It’s unique,” said Turner. “People who wouldn’t even usually come to vintage stores come on to the bus.”

When Turner, his wife, Kelsey, and a few of their friends decided to start a small business, he was inspired by the Portland double decker bus turned vintage shop, Lodekka.

“I said, ‘what if we made our shop mobile?'” he said. “My wife and friends thought I was crazy.”

The Vintagemobile is one of the many of Dallas thrift shops becoming more popular as vintage clothing has become the latest trend spicing up wardrobes. Though vintage clothing has always been a niche market, its growth into a mainstream trend is due in part to the creative entrepreneurs who are finding new ways to sell their old wares.

“In years past you had more trouble finding vintage clothing stores with high-quality merchandise. That’s not true anymore. With more stores that have a larger, higher quality inventory, more consumers are taking notice,” SMU Fashion Media Director, Camille Kraeplin said.

The Vintagemobile is dedicated to selling affordable vintage women and men’s apparel, with cowboy boots, cat-eye sunglasses, ’80s concert T-shirts and dresses galore. The refurbished 1980 former school bus even features a small dressing room surrounded by “Return of the Jedi” sheets for quick changes and a full-length mirror to appraise the 1950s dress or pearl-snap Western wear you can try on.

The Vintagemobile sold hundreds of vintage Christmas sweaters last December, dedicating the entire bus to its festive inventory.

The Turners pick out each item on their own, stopping at state fairs, looking in other thrift stores and keeping up with eBay postings in order to provide their customers with the best options possible.

“I think my favorite item recently has been Michael Jackson tour shirts,” Turner said.

As food trucks and other mobile retail businesses find their way around Dallas, many unique stores like the Vintagemobile are having problems finding zoned areas to sell their wares. Texas offers licenses for mobile food units such as food trucks but has no specific laws or licenses for mobile businesses.

Though other mobile retail stores exist around the country, like the Bootleg Airstream mobile shoe store in Austin or Boston’s Green Street Vault, which specializes in men’s clothing, most remain relegated to setting up permanently in parking lots and treating their vehicular store like a regular storefront, or using special events to sell their clothes and accessories.

“Because of how the city of Dallas is set up, there are no permits for us,” said Turner. “What we really have to do is find good events [attract] the kind of people who would like to shop on a bus.”

Melissa Mack, who runs a vintage housewares and clothing store called Sugar Derby out of a 1958 Cardinal travel trailer, only pays vendor fees to set up at events around Dallas.

“I don’t have to carry [a permit] just to be a business. I am covered under the ‘special events’ permit of whatever event I am attending. My shop is so labor intensive to set up that I generally stick with actual events, music festivals [and] outdoor markets,” Mack said.

The Vintagemobile frequents the Bishop Arts District and many events around Dallas, even stopping on campus in 2012. Its location can be found each weekend on their website, Turner’s mobile retail concept is ideal and economical: he can move each weekend to find new customers and does not have to pay rent or much in maintenance costs.

The Vintagemobile made a stop at the Dallas School of Rock’s Rockstravaganza in early April, opening its door to the young rockers and their parents. Due to the bus’ size, only six people can fit comfortably in the bus, which provides a more intimate experience for shoppers.

“I think it’s a neat concept. It’s different from anything I’ve seen,” said rocker mom Sonja Small. “It’s not necessarily my style, the clothes are old, but it’s cool.”

This trend is not only sweeping the United States, vintage is coming back in style worldwide. On a trip to Paris, Turner and his wife purchased a Glamour Paris magazine off a street-side stand, opening it to find a profile of the Vintagemobile almost 5,000 miles from Dallas.

“That was a once in a lifetime experience,” Turner said.

Turner recalls this as his proudest moment in his time working with the bus. After only two years of business, the press and attention his once crazy idea has received is unbelievable, he said.

For many, the appeal of vintage clothes comes from their age and their potential story. Professor Kraeplin’s vintage collection was mainly passed down from her mother’s closet.

“Other pieces are part of my wardrobe because they were passed down to me by my mother who was quite the clothes horse in the ’60s and ’70s. Many of these are designer pieces that represent the looks we see today on the show ‘Mad Men’-those 1960s-style Jackie Kennedy suits,” she said.

“As trends recycle, some shoppers especially younger ones, have fun looking for ‘authentic’ examples of trends from earlier decades that are popular now.”

The Vintagemobile, led by Turner and his expecting wife, hopes to bring these traditional fads to new audiences in a unique shopping experience.

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