Former Clothes Show presenter and twice British Designer of the Year, Jeff Banks CBE is keen to be known as ‘out there in terms of design’. And he has done just that with his latest collection of glasses for Specsavers. The collection of 12 styles range from sleek metallic rectangular frames to ultra-retro wire frame round eyes.
The exclusive-to-Specsavers collection is inspired by his favourite London clubs of the ’60s, including Scotch of St James and Monkberry, where he spent many a night hanging out with the likes of Rod Stewart and the Rolling Stones.
Although his new range of specs are largely inspired by that era, Jeff is keen to point out that there are other influences in his designs, with nods to the ’30s and ’50s as well. For instance, his '50s-style browline glasses, Scotch of St James, which are one of his favourites from the collection.
One of Jeff's trademarks is to include ‘hidden secrets’ in his designs and the new glasses are no exception. ‘I don’t want my designs to be emblazoned all over. I want something hidden inside, or something that shows that someone has taken a little bit of an effort...’
As someone who is clearly passionate about his designs down to the last detail, it’s no surprise to learn that Jeff is very hands-on at work. ‘There isn’t anything we make that I haven’t drawn.’ Everything he wears from his clothing to his watches has been designed by him. ‘I don’t wear anyone else’s clothes. It’s a hollow sell if you don’t wear your own designs.’
The Tottenham Royal
‘The Tottenham Royal was a mods venue. Big bands, such as the Ted Heath Band, would go on first, followed by new pop groups such as The Dave Clark Five, The Who and The Animals. We were south London mods but we ventured there on occasion.’
Scotch of St James
‘The walls of Scotch of St James were decorated in tartan. It was a favourite with the French, such as Johnny Hallyday and Françoise Hardy. Les French loved it!’
The Marquee Club
‘It was a great big dingy basement – a noisy club. It was a premium venue to be seen in by record companies. We saw the likes of the Rolling Stones and The Who.’