Jeff Banks

Jeff Banks

Born on 17th March 1943 in South Wales, Jeff Banks is a designer of accessories, clothes and home furnishings. At the age of eight, his father left his mother and following the separation, she decided to move to England with her son. In London, Banks was offered scholarship to study at St. Dunstan’s College but because his mother couldn’t afford the expensive uniform, he joined the Brockley County Grammar School still without a proper outfit. In order to purchase a uniform, Banks opened a small business of buying and transporting paraffin on top of the hill for pennies. By the time he was thirteen, he even employed a helper but after two years he sold the trade to someone else.

Banks was encouraged by a professor to study art and pursue painting, hence he joined the Camberwell School of Art. However during the first year, he felt that his skills in the subject are limited and so transferred himself to the interior design department. Later on, when that didn’t seem to interest him much, he moved towards studying textiles design at Saint Martin’s School of Art. Banks eventually studied fashion designing at Parson’s The New School for Design (New York).

In 1964, Banks launched his first boutique known as Clobber in the urban city of London with the money he saved from his father and his own paraffin trade. The store carried designs not only by Banks but it also shelved works of other designers. The idea was a huge success and due to this, he was able to launch his own label in 1969. Six years later, he introduced his debut standalone eponymous store in London and retail outlets in around 22 departmental stores, including Harvey Nichols plus Harrods.

In the 1970s, he co-founded Warehouse, a fashion chain and in addition to this, Banks continued to do freelance designing. Later on, it was taken over by Sears and he was fired for being disorderly in board meetings. In 1979 as well as 1981, he was honored as the British Designer of the Year and British Coat Designer of the Year.

During the mid 80s, Jeff Banks designed several costumes for Howard Jones‘s (musician) stage performance. Banks popularity and his commercial influence in the retail fashion scene led the designer to present more than three hundred and twenty episodes on BBC of The Clothes Show alongside Caryn Franklin and Selina Scott. The program was highly admired and following its success, its live event was organized as well as a magazine was published.

In 1996, he managed to create a corporate clothing company after working making corporate designs for several organizations. Incorporatewear became the 4th largest company in UK producing corporate apparel for different companies. Partners of Jeff Bank in this business are Brian Lamb and Rob Pallock. Banks designed outfits for many people from Butlins Red, Barclays Bank, Dinner Ladies, British Airport Authorities and so on. Moreover, he has designed for the England football team, London’s 2012 Olympics, and Guide Association.

In addition to this, he has received honorary degrees from University College for the Creative Arts, University of Lancaster and University of Westminster. In the year 2009, he was appointed in Queen’s Birthday Honors, as the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

As far as Banks personal life is concerned, he has been married twice. His first wife was Sandie Shaw (60’s pop star) and the two have a daughter. He later married Sue Mann, a makeup artist and model.