Our Friends of Far Afield series continues. Each season, we’ll visit some of Brighton’s best businesses, to talk shop with the staff and find out what they think makes our city so special.
In Part Three, we head back to the busy streets of Brighton’s North Laine, where we spoke with Dan – owner of mid-century furniture store, Gander Vintage Interiors.
Can you give us a brief history of the shop and a roundup of what it is you do?
I started out as an antiques dealer, way back in ’97, when I opened as shop in Ashdown Forest with my brother. Since then, I’ve moved on to Mid-Century interiors, which is my true passion. I had a shop in Paris for about seven years, and then, finally—about three years ago—I got the opportunity to have my own place in Brighton. I’ve lived here since I was about 18, so it’s always been a dream of mine.
You say that you finally got your own premises in Brighton just three years ago. In terms of timing with covid, I imagine that must’ve been pretty tough?
I started a year before the pandemic, so I got a little foot in the door on this street first, which really helped. And the North Laine remained quite busy—even if people weren’t aloud to shop—so I was able to promote my business that way, though interesting window displays. But it’s definitely been a tough couple of years. I’m just really happy that things seem to be slowly getting back to normal now.
You mentioned the North Laine are just then. Can you give us a bit of an insight into what it’s like to be part of this community?
Sydney Street; there’s no other street like it. Everybody looks out for each other here. You could leave your keys with anybody, it’s just like that. For me, it’s the last independent street in Brighton. We’re all just trying to make our passions pay, in a corporate, modern world, and we all want to help each other achieve.
And finally, what makes Brighton so special – not just as a place to work but as a place to call home?
Brighton’s so special because it’s a safe-haven for the ‘out-there’ and the ridiculous. That open-minded approach means there’s constant growth and change. Without change, there’s nothing, and that’s what makes Brighton exciting. I want to live in an exciting city where things move on and progress. I think it’s so important to live in a progressive society.
Photography by Damien O’Donnell
Words and styling by Charlie Gardiner