Designer Jeff Banks leads China visit to University fashion facilities

03 September 2019

Delegation visited Manchester Fashion Institute and School of Art



The designer Jeff Banks paid a visit to the University with a delegation of leading Chinese fashion and textiles officials.  

Banks and representatives from the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), the national federation representing all textile industries, visited Manchester Fashion Institute and Manchester School of Art on the first leg of a European tour of universities.

The trip is designed to increase understanding of global fashion education, and industry links, building on China’s standing as a leading textiles manufacturing centre, and developing partnerships with international institutions.

Banks, a celebrated and vastly experienced fashion designer who founded the chain Warehouse and has been named British Designer of the year twice, helped to facilitate the visit owing to his strong industry relationships in China and the UK. He was a visiting lecturer at Manchester School of Art during the 1970s and 80s, and chose Manchester as the first calling point on the trip. 

Technical hub

Banks said: “I thought the best place to start would be here because of everything that textiles has meant to Manchester, how Manchester School of Art started and how the University has developed as a technical hub for the industry.

“I just thought this would be great for them to experience to understand how art and design and manufacture come together in Britain. Where better to choose than here?”

The delegation first visited Manchester Fashion Institute, where Associate Head Tony Bednall explained its strong links with the fashion industry and record on employability through its successful placements initiative.

I thought the best place to start would be here because of everything that textiles has meant to Manchester, how Manchester School of Art started and how the University has developed as a technical hub for the industry.

They then visited Manchester School of Art, where Head of Manchester School of Architecture Professor Tom Jefferies explained their remarkable research into 3D printed knitted structures, before Kate Egan, Programme Lead for Textiles in Practice, described how the course combined teaching traditional drawing methods with technological innovation.  

The guests also toured both facilities – and were particularly impressed by the workshop and studio spaces on offer.

Banks said: “The facilities here are phenomenal. The students that come here are so lucky and fortunate – when I was at art school you were lucky if you could get a little bit of desk space!

“Having said that, what you have here is a staff that are embedded in that culture and educate students to take full advantage of this facility.”

CNTAC, and its sub-organisation the China Textile Information Centre, seeks to promote the country’s textile industry, integrating it within the fashion and creative industries, and help to improve product and international market presence.

The facilities here are phenomenal. The students that come here are so lucky and fortunate – when I was at art school you were lucky if you could get a little bit of desk space!

Penny Macbeth, Dean of Manchester School of Art, said: “It was a privilege to host Jeff Banks and guests from the China National Textile and Apparel Council. Our international partnerships are invaluable to us a school and we are always pleased to celebrate Manchester and the School of Art’s rich heritage as a home for textiles and design and how we continue to innovate through cutting-edge textiles research and use of our top-class facilities.”

Bednall, Associate Head of Manchester Fashion Institute, said: “I was delighted to welcome Jeff Banks and guests from the Chinese fashion and textiles industry to Manchester Fashion Institute. The delegation were extremely interested in hearing about our close links with employers and track record of our students going on to work internationally within the industry. We already enjoy close links with China through higher education institutions and industry connections across China and look forward to developing these relationships further in the future.”

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