For the ‘Modern Vintage Jeans’ shoot in our current issue these two gentlemen kindly opened their archive for us to dress our model in some amazing vintage denim pieces: We talked to collectors and denim experts Roy Luckett and Douglas Gunn, owners of The Vintage Showroom in London, about their background, what’s next in the denim market and TVS Images, a digital version of their archive.
Douglas Gunn: Roy and I met on Portobello Road in the early 2000s. We were both trading under the West Way on a Friday morning, in what at the time was hands down the best vintage market in the world. After a rocky start where Roy, in the pouring rain and on my first day, refused to !end me a cover for my stall, we became friends and started to Iook for opportunities to work together.
Roy had a number of successful vintage stores in the late '80s and '90s and I had just come off three years of operating vintage concessions in Selfridges department stores and wanted to work more with designers referencing vintage for inspiration, so we pooled our resources together and created a fixed archive designers and brands could visit and work from. We both felt there was a big gap in terms of vintage menswear being offered in London at the time. We started building a menswear archive as it has always been our passion. Twelve years later we are still stuck with it, and feel we can take it further. Why did you decide to start its digital version?
When our first book Vintage Menswear was published in 2012, we found a lot of our customers were inspired by the way the archive was photographed. Besides our books and publications, our blog was regularly topping 40,000 visitors per month. Similarly, while doing consultancy for fashion brands we found our own images on concept walls and designers themselves would not know where they came from. This planted a seed. Now our TVS Images hosts over 35,000 unique, high-quality images of our collection in a state-of-the-art, digital asset library system. It's a fully meta-tagged, searchable archive which we will continue to develop and grow, offering access to previously unseen collections and archives.
Who will use it according to your plan?
It is for anyone who has read our blog, picked up one of our publications, or visited our archive or shop. Anyone looking for creative inspiration for designing and students, too.
What evolution will happen in the denim, jeanswear and sportswear markets in the future?
We are still waiting for the market to focus on sustainability rather than growth and profit. Gucci has announced it will aim to be carbon neutral. This should be the new norm. Everyone needs to follow this if they want to talk about sustainability. ln regards to denim, we have been working at Orta Anadolu on hemp developments which is really exciting. We believe in hemp and have always found it fascinating how a plant that was so widely used throughout history for fabric, paper, rope etc. could become so vilified in the 20th century. lt seems the logical solution to many problems around cotton production. Hemp reduces water consumption, pesticide and insecticide usage, plus it is one of nature's fastest C02 biomass converters. The US' decision to repeal the ban on hemp in the 2018 farm bill will be hugely influential in hemp growth globally.
Please note: This story is also published in our current magazine #290, 'The Best of Denim' issue.