Safeguarding the proud stock of British sportswear, Douglas Gunn and Roy Lucket founded The Vintage Showroom in 2007 as a collector’s tribute to historic threads. Their Notting Hill showroom and retail space in Covent Garden’s Seven Dials are dedicated to outdoor duds from throughout the ages. Their new book, authored by men’s style writer Josh Sims, collects 130 highlights from the archive as a tribute to 19th and 20th-century menswear.
While the hub of men’s tailoring still lies on Savile Row and Jermyn Street, the focus of The Vintage Showroom is decidedly more international and common man. The book’s three chapters are dedicated to sports and leisure, military and workwear items. Hardy fabrics like waxed cotton, corduroy, denim and leather are prevalent, favored for their ability to withstand wear and hide grime. Gunn and Lucket’s selections are replete with purposeful design details: a U-boat deck coat made of rubberized cotton, a hunting bag for game strung by hand, patchwork repairs on a kimono-cut Japanese “boro” jacket.
Items from American and French manufacturers get a fair amount of love in the book, although it always comes back to British production. Hunting coats in plaid and leather motorcycle jackets are revered with good reason. They are items with a thousand imitators—which explains why The Vintage Showroom is often contracted by major brands looking to capture the appeal of heritage items.