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City Beat (August 08, 2007) 

Old School Outfitters

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Lost and Found Vintage
Old School Outfitters

This past winter, one of Royal Oak’s most coveted retail shops moved. It didn’t move out to the 'burbs and thank heavens it didn’t move to Chicago — if I hear about one more person moving to Chicago I’m gonna freak out. No, it actually just moved to another location within Royal Oak, Washington Ave. to be exact, where it seems new life is being breathed into the city. Lost and Found has found a new home — a larger, brighter, more welcoming home and owner Tommy Dorr couldn’t be happier.

But perhaps I’ve gotten ahead of myself. How was this Royal Oak gem conceived?

“I built this place from the money in my pocket, never took out a business loan or anything, it was more just my work ethic that made this work," says Dorr from his back office at the store where vintage men's and women's clothes are strewn about. “I was working at St. Joe’s Hospital, I was going to school and working at a flea market — I was doing all of these things while just building my stock, so basically I didn’t have a life for two years before I started.”

His labor of love paid off, and in retrospect perhaps it couldn’t have been planned any better … coincidence or not. “It hit at the right time — vintage clothing got really popular right when I opened up, which is why I think it worked right away," Dorr says with a quiet sense of pride. “We had so much of the nicer ‘30s and ‘40s stuff that we just didn’t put it out [at the old location] because we couldn’t display it right. With accessories it was the same, we had nowhere to put it. In December or November I came across this spot [the Washington Ave. location] and fell in love with the space. I loved the tri-level build out, it kind of has the feel of an old New York or Chicago store in that way."

And on the topic of geography, where does Detroit fit into the equation? The answer is in its history. “This area is just so good for vintage clothing because people were so rich and so affluent in past decades — that’s what I like so much about Detroit, is its past and that’s what I like about the clothes, too,” says Dorr, exuberantly adding, “You can celebrate and relive that part of Detroit’s history through all of these clothes.”

Here I had to clear something up with Dorr — what the hell is considered vintage these days anyway? I told him that the cut-off with cars and guitars is at least 25 years. This he already knew.

“Yeah, that’s what everybody says, but a kid who shops here who was born in. say, 1990 is only 17 years old now. They didn’t live in the ‘80s, so they’re wearing stuff now that I wore as a kid. Stonewashed jeans will come back when kids born in 2000 go shopping at vintage stores," Dorr says with a smirk, knowing how ridiculous those 1992 stonewashed jeans looked.

Lost and Found is a beautiful store, with tons of treasures hiding amongst its racks and shelves. The perfect piece of wearable nostalgia is right there, waiting to excite your wardrobe.  | RDW

Lost and Found Vintage is at 510 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248.548.6154 or myspace.com/lostandfoundvintage.

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Old School Outfitters
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