The Fashion Truck Reno

The Fashion Truck Reno


The Coastline Fashion Truck (Big Burtha) started life as a removals van and we got the keys in February 2020 (just before the pandemic hit). Here's a little bit about the renovation process if you're like me, and into that kinda thing...

The before...

The COVID-19 pandemic made progress slow and difficult as materials could not be sourced and trades could not be hired.  So this meant I spent a good part of lockdown burning out my hairdryer while hand peeling all the previous sign writing off the vehicle.  As soon as lockdown eased, we enlisted the help of a local joiner.  We had to make careful consideration to the materials used as the maximum weight of the van should not exceed 3.5 tonnes (on my standard UK driving license). 

With this in mind, the joiner added wood strapping (excuse any lack of technical terms when it comes to trade speak) and insulation.  While doing my research on fashion trucks I could only find examples in the US and Canada where the climates are totally different to here in Scotland but in the end, we decided to use the same foam insulation boards that are being used in houses. 

With strapping and insulation

This made the van extremely cosy but also caused condensation. I was advised to add in roof vents so the joiner installed 2 of those to the roof of the vehicle.

We then called upon an electrician who advised on a battery and inverter combo to power the lights and sockets in the back of the van.  I chose light fittings which can be adjusted to properly show off the stock.

Once the electrics were installed, the joiner was able to put plywood over the strapping and insulation.  He also fitted storage with a 2 door opening to make use of the space above the cab. I spent a long time then filling, sanding and painting the plasterboard before the final finishes were applied by the joiner (pine skirting boards and trims which gave the van a very homely feel!)

The flooring was purchased from local company Jacks Flooring and I chose a vinyl, grey wood effect.  I really wanted a light parquet style vinyl but the reality is that those floors are going to get dirty during pop-ups, so I ignored my own wants, and took the sensible option.  

Painting commenced

For the installation of the fitting room I opted for a shower curtain rail which could be built in a curved shape which was easily installed and lightweight for the van. As it was fitted to the roof, this blocked out the light, so I found a small LED chargeable light which I placed above the mirrors.

Next up were the fittings.  Again, my personal preference was for copper piping, but the reality was this would not be practical/strong enough for the types of fittings I required.  A plumber friend advised steel pipe fittings would work well so I took his advice and ordered some parts online which he kindly put together for me.  This saved Coastline soooo much money in comparison to buying these types of fittings elsewhere.

When it came to actually screwing in the fittings, it was a total nightmare!!  I was an over excited idiot, and painted over the markings that the joiner had made to show where the strapping was.  Without knowing where the strapping was, we might have been drilling into just plywood and insulation which would never hold the weight of the clothes.  My very patient husband helped me with the guess work and I am relieved to say none of them have fallen down yet!

For the counter, my joiner advised on using a kitchen unit. He managed to source one really cheaply, along with a worktop cut off and it has so much storage for all my Coastline bits and bobs.

For the finishing touches I added wooden hooks to match the pine finishes, a wooden stool for trying on footwear, artificial plants and a grid wall at the till point for accessories. 

In terms of the exterior, I peeled all the old sign writing and removed all the glue, resealed with silicone where there was water getting in and also painted some metal work. The sign writing was designed by the lovely Claire from Desert Thistle Designs and was applied by Nathan at Watten Signs. 

These balloons for the Coastline Fashion Truck launch were kindly gifted by Erin from Cornish Balloon Creations - I think you will agree, they totally completed the look!

There are still some things I'd like to get finished off like spray painting the wheels (a summer job). Upgrading my steps, fixing some chipped paintwork and overhauling the interior of the cab. I suppose Rome wasn't built in a day, we will get there.

If you're up to something similar and have any queries, please get in touch - always happy to help!