ICON: What pushed you to establish a vintage store? Was there anything like it at the time?
Lee Bob: “Storeroom Vintage fell into place more than anything – my dad used to sell vintage back in the day. And a few boxes had been sitting there for a decade, he let me take them to Glebe Markets and I fell in love with it from there. The clothes, the people that wear them, everything about vintage fashion. Starting out it was just a market stall on the weekends, but I wanted to be selling everyday – that’s when the store came into play. I realised quickly that I needed to go to America to make this store fire, and that was where I started bringing that 90s vintage back to Australia. At the time I was the only person doing international trips for vintage clothes.”
ICON: Talk to me about your process for sourcing vintage pieces. Where do you look and what era’s do you opt for?
LB: “When it comes to my store I hunt for things that are fire and will sell, right now it’s Nascar and Nike t-shirts. Or designer vintage, like Dior logo printed pants. Although I made my start with vintage hip-hop t-shirt there is a big shift at the moment to more punk shirts and movie tees.
When it comes to my personal style, it’s anything from vintage designer to hip-hop t-shirts. My favourite designer vintage is Gaultier, but it’s a harder one to find.”
ICON: What do you think draws people to vintage style? Can we thank celebrity influence, or does it stem deeper than that?
LB: “The main thing when it comes to vintage is being unique, and owning something you know that everyone else won’t be wearing. You can create your own style from vintage pieces. There’s also a big sustainability piece, shopping vintage helps reduce the waste associated with fast fashion.”
ICON: How do you spot a vintage designer piece that is fake?
LB: “When it comes to spotting the quality it all comes down to knowledge & time. Buyers are definitely getting smarter and are already armed with knowledge when they come into Storeroom Vintage.”
ICON: Has the rise of fast fashion tarnished vintage style, particularly when everything nowadays is replicated?
LB: “A few years back I was selling vintage bootleg, especially the Gucci stuff. It was all about the product quality, and a reasonable price for the product. I’ve moved away from that now as it’s more readily available and mass produced. Vintage is about being unique and one-of-a-kind and fast-fashion can’t give people that.”
ICON: Fashion is cyclical. Do you notice customers looking for particular styles dependent on current trends – how do you keep up with demand while remaining unique?
LB: “I’m always looking at the latest lines from fashion houses like Dior and Gucci, they are always recycling old styles and playing on previous lines. I’ll then hunt for the original pieces and have them in-store. It’s also important to watch what celebrities are wearing, a lot of the time they’ll be loaned a vintage item which gives that brand more value and relevance – especially in the world of vintage.”
ICON: You’re partnering with 1800 Tequila and have sourced a collection of 1800 exclusive pieces for the collaboration. How long did it take to source such a large quantity of pieces?
LB: “It’s taken 3-6 months, with multiple shopping trips, visiting everywhere from Japan to the states. The 1800 Collection focuses on Storeroom Vintage’s premium range, can’t wait for everyone to see it on Saturday 17th! We’ll also have a fire live DJ and 1800 Tequila bar in-store.”
ICON: In 20 to 30 years’ time, in your opinion what will vintage fashion look like?
LB: “Everything vintage was made in the USA, made in France – it was created to last and be worn forever. But currently clothing items aren’t built to last or be sustainable purchases, they are built to be worn and then thrown out a year or two later. The products aren’t built to last and won’t be wearable as vintage pieces in the future. I think 2040 vintage is going to be the same stuff we are currently hunting for.”
On Saturday 17th August, for one day only, The 1800 Collection will pop-up in Storeroom Vintage. Sip on an 1800 Tequila cocktail, created by the brand’s tequila specialist Hayley Dixon, whilst hunting for that perfect one-of-a-kind item.
Saturday, 17th August
12pm-8pm @ Storeroom Vintage
277-285 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Free entry – You must be over 18-years-of-age to enter