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My London: Jeff Banks – Fashion Designer

by Benjamin Reynolds

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Jeff Banks CBE is a Welsh designer of men’s and women’s clothing, jewellery, and home furnishings. Born in Wales, Banks co-founded the fashion chain Warehouse in the late 1970s. He later created and presented the television programme The Clothes Show, broadcast on BBC One from 1986 to 2000. He continues to run a vibrant design studio servicing his interests in The United Kingdom, Japan, China and Australia.

He is a past president of the Chartered Society of Designers and currently the life President of Graduate Fashion Week which he created 25 years ago.
He holds ten honorary degrees and doctorates and was made Commander of the British Empire in 2011 for services to Fashion.

His major passion beyond fashion is cycling and still competes regularly and sponsors is own amateur racing team.

Favourite neighbourhood:

Soho – my office is bang in the middle and I just love working and socializing in the area.

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Favourite place for brunch:

Vasco Pierro – Poland Street. To me it’s the best Italian restaurant in London. Lunchtime full up with movie directors and actors. Real buzz of a place. Great food and always consistent.

Best coffee in London:

Don’t drink coffee but for a hot chocolate I go to Said Dal 1923 in Broadwick Street.

Favourite gallery or museum:

V&A always! Never fails to surprise and great for inspiration. I’ve been a friend of the V&A for years and they have a lot of my vintage clothes in there.

Tell us a secret:

When I had my office in Macklin St Covent Garden, I came out with a girlfriend and there was a patch of wet concrete. We put our hand prints into it and it’s still there.

Favourite place to shop:

Jeff Banks Savile Row – of course!

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Favourite place to find inspiration:

Men’s stores in London are the best in the world so you don’t have to go too far to get tuned up. Other than that Graduate Fashion Week at the Truman Brewery once a year is a great feeding ground for new ideas.

Best London destination for a date:

The Chiltern Firehouse. They have a little secluded booth for two which you can’t beat.

Favourite food market:

Borough Market, best place for cheese and fresh veg in London.
Your sanctuary in the city:

Mount Street Gardens at the back of the church. I buy a cigar in Sauters Cigars wander in and sit on a bench and let the world go by for an hour.

What inspires you?

Impossible to pin down. I was recently in Copenhagen and there was an exhibition “Learn from Japan” comparing Danish design with early Japanese design. It made me think of “Learn from Britain” and that has just prompted my whole thinking for 2017.

This season I’m loving:

Unlined men’s overcoats.
Draw cord nylon
Wild at Heart flowers in Liberty.
Paul Young chocolates in Soho
Roll neck sweaters
Slip on canvas shoes
Living without shoulder pads
Grey emulsion paint
Oil painting again
New Aprire racing bikes handmade carbon in London
Garsington opera
Coloured sox and no sox
The bar at Ham Yard Hotel
Christmas lights in Regent Street
Rod Stewart at the 02
The Burlington Arcade.

Looking forward to the Ivy opening in Soho.

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