While cruising around the city this summer, keep your eyes peeled for an old 1976 Dodge Sportsman RV. You can’t miss it, really—painted in bright orange with chevron stripes, this cute converted truck makes its presence known.
Friends and vintage collectors Sarah Azzouzi and Kyla Embrey, owners of Lost Girls, bought the truck on Craigslist last year and spent a month gutting and rehabbing it together. Now outfitted with shelves, clothing racks and even a small dressing room, the truck (dubbed “Winnie") has been transformed into a mobile vintage fashion boutique.
The women had been selling vintage the “traditional” way for years, setting up shop at local markets and managing online stores. When they met in 2012, they bonded over their lifelong love for all things vintage. “Some of my earliest memories are spending Saturday mornings with my mom, going to yard sales, or tagging along to work with my great grandmother at the flea market,” Embrey says.
They tossed around the idea of opening a brick and mortar store together, but quickly nixed it. Azzouzi, who studied fashion at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, says the freedom of a mobile shop sounded like an adventure. “We’re young,” the 26-year-old says. “We don’t want to be stuck sitting inside all day waiting for people to come to us. We want to travel, and go out and find those people.”
Though a fashion truck outweighed the monotony of a fixed storefront, it created its own set of challenges. The Lost Girls have become experts in auto repair, for one thing. “We’ve learned so much about car maintenance and repairs over the last year,” Azzouzi says. “We fix a lot of things ourselves.” Weather is another tricky subject. “We both have radar on our phones and we have to keep an eye out for rain every time we set up,” she says. The summer months are naturally their busiest season, but the Lost Girls also operate a studio and an online Etsy shop for the slower months.
When I met up with the Lost Girls at one of their pop-ups outside of Sparrow Salon in Logan Square, they showed me around the truck and pulled aside some of their favorite pieces for me: An embellished suede fringe jacket, oxblood cowboy boots, an aged leather satchel and a Turkish rug from the 70s. Azzouzi and Embrey are both drawn to 70s vintage, but buy clothing from all eras and in all sizes for the truck, taking special care to have plenty of plus-size pieces in stock.
Designer garments make it onto the racks from time to time, like the neon floral Diane Von Furstenberg blouse I spotted for $60. If you’re looking for it, sorry – it’s gone to a good home (my closet).
Last month, the duo scored big when a woman moving to the Virgin Islands sold them her collection of 1960s vintage. “Her pieces were custom made in 1967 for her and she kept them in impeccable condition since then,” Azzouzi says. “She had the most beautiful purple suede fringe cape that we just about died over. It literally sold the day we got it, before we even put it on a hanger. It’s those extra special pieces that we live for.”
To keep tabs on the Lost Girls’ ever-changing whereabouts, your best bet is to follow them on Instagram at lostgirlsvintage or on Twitter at @lostgirlsvtg. To start, here are a handful of their upcoming locations:
Antique Taco (1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.)- August 15
Inkling (2917 1/2 North Broadway Ave.)- August 16
Vintage Garage (5051 N Broadway Ave.) - August 17
Renegade Craft Fair (Division St. between Damen Ave. and Paulina Ave.)- Sept 6-7
St. Louis Vintage Market Days (2025 Park Hill Dr.; Highland, IL) - September 19-21