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Jeff Banks’ People's Catwalk

Joanne Whiteing meets generous Jeff at the Trafford Centre

Published on October 4th 2010.


Jeff Banks’ People's Catwalk

Forget London Fashion Week. Last week, saw local celebrities, model scouts and one particular famous fashion designer head to the Trafford centre for ‘The People’s Catwalk’ charity event.

Designer, Jeff Banks, came up with the idea for the event, telling me “I love fashion”, but it’s not just down to his passion for clothes. In reality Jeff is the chairman of the retail group sector of the Prince’s Trust and really believes that disadvantaged youngsters deserve the mentoring and advice the charity can provide to stop them from slipping through the cracks.

I went along to see what all the fuss was about and find out a little more about the man behind the scheme, mogul designer Jeff Banks.

It turns out ‘The People’s Catwalk’ is a completely new way of fundraising and increasing awareness for the Prince’s Trust charity. The concept is based around allowing people to have their 15 minutes of fame by allowing them to showcase their Trafford Centre purchases on a catwalk in the Orient area with professional styling, professional photographs and a goody bag to boot.

Designer, Jeff Banks, came up with the idea for the event, telling me “I love fashion”, but it’s not just down to his passion for clothes. In reality Jeff is the chairman of the retail group sector of the Prince’s Trust and really believes that disadvantaged youngsters deserve the mentoring and advice the charity can provide to stop them from slipping through the cracks.

“It’s just about giving them the opportunity to help them focus and get into job” he said. “A lot of these young people, all they want is for somebody to take an interest. That’s my real motivation; somebody needs to look after these children.”

Though it was clear that Jeff was devoted to helping, I wondered what had caused him to pursue something so far removed from the high-end fashion designing he was used to. It turns out he doesn’t really see the difference.

“I’ve done the high-end fashion shows and at the end of the day they might use more expensive fabrics than the high-street and yes, they use models they pay a fortune to, but actually the principle is the same, so I don’t see it as a big leap”

Taking time out of his hectic schedule, Jeff really did make the effort to create a special occasion for everyone involved. It’s refreshing to see a high-flying designer lend his time, name and money to help others and allow anyone willing to have a go the chance to be a star for a day.

Aside from opening three stores in China and two in Japan whilst tending to his 136 concessions in Australia and presenting the ‘Fashion on the field’ programme (and that’s in this month alone), Jeff will still be making time to continually support The Prince’s Trust and finger’s crossed will endeavour to run ‘The People’s Catwalk’ event again next year.

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