With a unique approach focused on storytelling, Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett sell everything from military pieces to Pearly King suits
Introducing Meet the Vintage Dealers, a new series spotlighting the best vintage dealers in the business.
Names: Doug Gunn and Roy Luckett
Shop: The Vintage Showroom
Location: 14 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, WC2H 9LN. (On the edge of Covent Garden and Soho)
USP: Military pieces but also jewellery, tailoring, leathers and miscellaneous items such as Pearly King and Queen suits, and vintage scout jackets
The Vintage Showroom
When did you open The Vintage Showroom?
We opened it in 2009. It was a big step for us because we hadn’t been trading long. Our landlord Malcolm, who sadly passed away recently, liked what we did and took a chance on a couple of Portobello market boys, for which we will always be grateful.
Why did you decide to launch it?
When we started the business in 2007/2008, we were really focused on working with designers. We always viewed it more as a B2B business providing a service and archive to clients. That said, when the retail opportunity came about we had take it as we liked the idea of being able to take our curated vintage menswear direct to the customer. Nine years on, I think it surprises a lot of people that we are still there – there are just so few independent stores around us.
What is your speciality?
Weaving stories. Whether that’s through the clothing and displays themselves, concepts that we build for brands or the historical research and archive work we do for companies. I guess it all comes down to storytelling and our passion for what we do.
What kind of places do you source your pieces from?
We travel all over the world and have a unique network of collectors, dealers and pickers that we work with. As the company name has grown in reputation, we get offered a lot of people’s personal collections – items that normally haven’t seen the light of day for years – which turns out some incredible pieces.
What is the most unusual piece you’ve ever had in your store?
We had a 1930s military straight jacket in the window of Earlham Street store for a while which got some interesting feedback from passers by. The Christmas window display is never complete without a Victorian Santa mask, which is truly a thing of nightmares.
What is the most special piece in your personal collection?
We have some Boer War keepsakes that we will never part with. They were cut from soldiers uniforms and sent home as love letters to family back in England. Beautiful and horrific at the same time.
Who has been your most memorable client?
The shop strangely has a loyal following from the great and the good – from MPs to rock stars, actors and journalists. Everyone gets the same treatment: we say hello and let you walk around and enjoy the space.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?
To be able to be surrounded by pieces that we love, and have others appreciate them is incredibly rewarding, we have the best job in the world!