Jeff Banks at the helm of the brand

Italian version of

Laura Galbiati

Posted on

Jan 3, 2023

The tributes continue to pour in following the death of Dame Vivienne Westwood, who passed away at the age of 81. His company will remain in good hands: a document presented to Companies House (British Chamber of Commerce) indicates that Jeff Banks was appointed Director just before Christmas. The entrepreneur specializing in fashion is also a TV presenter, but not only: he is in fact a longtime friend of the designer and one of her most fervent followers, as he has never hesitated to declare.

Vivienne Westwood – Spring/Summer 2019 – Women’s Collection – Paris

No other details have been leaked at the moment. The company is (understandably) still in shock over the designer’s death. Until recently, the designer and Carlo D’Amario were the sole directors of the company.

On Instagram, Jeff Banks said: “It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of my dear friend Vivienne. My heart goes out to her family and her husband Andreas. It is a historic moment. He revolutionized fashion and made it to evolve with passion, with values ​​of respect for others, justice and safeguarding our planet. She was a visionary who will always surpass her contemporaries by a length and who deserves her place in the firmament of her art. Rest in peace, Vivienne. Hai rendered to all of us an immense and eternal service”.

The British Fashion Council said: “We are devastated… Through her creativity and sense of innovation, she has shown the path that has allowed others to be themselves. His revolutionary approach to style not only changed the fashion world by giving life to and defining punk, but it also brought about global positive change. His legacy will still inspire many generations.”

Vivienne Westwood and Jeff Banks – Photo: @jeffbanks

In any case, his legacy within the brand that bears his name will have to be preserved. It had managed to maintain its financial independence in a world of luxury where most brands rely on public listing or the support of a large group. In 2018, the company fell into the red, which led to a restructuring.

“Vivienne has had her ups and downs due to Covid and inflation, especially in Europe. One of the reasons she has been able to weather the storms is that she has an incredible celebrity clientele, including Emma Watson, Dua Lupa and the queen consort,” Andrew Burnstine, an economics professor at Lynn University in Florida, told AFP.
“Vivienne was also very good at phoning customers and advertising her brand on social networks and in the media.”

The latest financial statements published on the Company House government website for the 2020 financial year, in the midst of the pandemic, declare a turnover of 42 million pounds for a pre-tax profit of 3.9 million pounds, for around 500 employees.

The specialized press recalls that the designer and her maison had problems with the British tax authorities, who accused her of having underestimated the value of her brand through payments to a branch based in Luxembourg, and had to carry out a heavy turnaround of half million pounds about ten years ago.

An activist for the environment and against excessive consumption (her fashion house urged to “buy less, choose well, make it last”), she had also been accused of hypocrisy for having continued to produce numerous collections each year: prêt-à- porter for men and women, accessories, perfumes, wedding dresses and other collaborations.

However, the Westwood house is proud to use recycled organic or synthetic materials, no longer use plastic in its packaging and regularly publish its carbon emissions.

If most of its sales take place in the United Kingdom, where the brand has six stores (as well as one in France, one in Italy and two in the United States), the brand is developing at great speed in Asia: Japan, China , Thailand ,Singapore…

The group produces in the United Kingdom, Italy, China and Kenya, with in particular a line called “Made in Kenya” intended to develop a sustainable supply chain in Africa.

Since 2016, the reins of artistic creation have been in the hands of Vivienne Westwood’s husband and longtime collaborator, Andreas Kronthaler, who has contributed extensively to forging the brand’s style since their first meeting in 1989.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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