This big blue bus gives a different name to ‘fast’ fashion. Sara Bartlett, small business owner of Canyon Couture, sells vintage, sustainably sourced, and handmade clothing out of a school bus she turned into her own shop.
Bartlett started the shop around 2019 when she purchased an old school bus and renovated it to fit her business to combine her love of travel with a job that gives her a lot of freedom.
“I just always wanted to work for myself. I like making my own hours,” Bartlett said. “I like to be able to travel. The bus was kind of a nice way of having a brick-and-mortar without the responsibility of one.”
Bartlett drives her bus to the station at different flea markets throughout Central Florida where she is able to table and sell items from Canyon Couture. She said one of her most unique items is the dresses she handmakes from neckties, which are sold on her website.
Bartlett highlighted the importance of selling handmade items over purchasing something that is mass-produced.
“Mostly everything I sell will be handmade by somebody, not necessarily me,” Bartlett said. “I just can appreciate the art of it. And so I tried to curate really well-made finds you couldn’t get at Dillard’s.”
Bartlett, who mentioned she worked at a thrift store for two years and saw that a lot of donated fast fashion clothes went to landfills, said it’s important to shop sustainably and from small businesses because it’s better for the environment, higher quality, and the clothes won’t break down immediately after you start wearing them.
“Now that trend cycles are shortened, and the clothing in fast fashion is so poorly made, it only lasts 10 wears whereas you used to be able to get like 100 words out of something,” Bartlett said. “So it was just making this problem even worse because it’s breaking almost immediately as you buy it and it’s so cheap you don’t care. You just buy another one. It’s ‘out of fashion’ anyway, so it’s just encouraging this overconsumption of clothes.”
Shopping at sustainable and vintage shops such as Canyon Couture for the holidays gives you the opportunity to have a handmade, unique, and long-lasting item in your or your loved one’s closet. From handmade dresses to reworked vintage tops, you’re sure to find something completely original that’ll last a lifetime. Flea markets across Orlando are the perfect place to shop second-hand while also helping the planet and small business owners.