Posted: Friday, 16th December 2011
Jeff Banks with Joe McCullagh, Alison Welsh in the fashion studio
INTERNATIONAL designer and entrepreneur Jeff Banks visited MMU this week to talk to students hoping for a career in fashion.
Twice British fashion designer of the year Jeff, who is famous for presenting the Clothes Show and creating Warehouse, told over 200 students how he went from studying textiles to running an international fashion business.
From his first London boutique in 1964 to Jeff Banks stores worldwide, ranges for big name stores and his own corporate clothing company Jeff has had an extremely successful and varied career.
Banks talked about his 50-year career from his first business venture – selling paraffin on the streets of London at the age of 13 - to being awarded the CBE for services to fashion and charitable work in 2009.
When asked by one fashion student about his biggest achievement he said without hesitation that is was being the only male to be made an honorary Girl Guide after revamping the brownie and guide uniforms: "Now that was fantastic,” he said.
Jeff has always been committed to nurturing new talent – he helped Vivienne Westwood set up as a designer in the 1980’s - and founded Graduate Fashion Week of which he has been chair for 15 years.
It was through this that the lecture was organised as former head of fashion Alison Welsh also sits on the board and thought Jeff would be the perfect person to give a lecture for students interested in a career in fashion or in setting up their own business.
Jeff’s advice to students included “always take a camera with you as everything you see can be inspiration,” he added: “and don’t underestimate the influence of the music industry on the world of fashion, where music goes fashion usually follows.”
As part of the visit Jeff was given a tour of the fashion department to see the facilities, talk to students and look at their work. Jeff said: “I’m very impressed with what I have seen, the facilities are great and the standard of work is very good indeed.”
The visit was organised as part of the Art School Conversations, which is a series of talks and debates led by world class professionals and hosted by the Manchester School of Art.
Marcus Lord business development manager of Art and Design said: “It was a great honour for us when Jeff agreed to come and do this talk and we hope it is the start of a long term relationship with the internationally famous designer.
“Attracting professionals of this calibre adds great value to our courses, benefits students and shows how highly regarded the Faculty is amongst the creative industries.”
The School now hopes to work a lot more with Jeff, who has offices in Manchester.
To find out more about Art School Conversations go to http://www.artdes.mmu.ac.uk/conversations/