INSPIRED: William Banks-Blaney

Vintage clothing has always been the height of cool, but William Banks-Blaney is taking it to dizzying new levels. Vogue‘s ‘King of Vintage’ has had a career so bursting full of creativity that he is a source of inspiration on a variety of artistic levels.

Having worked in art, antiques and interior design, his business William Vintage is situated in the heart of London, and is an absolute treasure trove. The two-floor shop boasts a selection of haute couture and fine vintage clothes from all around the world, all selected by William’s expert eye. Indeed, Tatler have referred to him as having “the knowledge of a fashion historian with the eye of a contemporary stylist”.

We talk to William about how his career started, what inspires him and what lies in the future.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am the founder of WilliamVintage, a fine vintage and haute couture clothing company that offers edited, cherry picked pieces of clothing from £75 to £17,500 and from size 00 to size 16 and also the founder of WilliamBanksBlaney, an interior design company that has executed projects in England, France, Spain and the United States.

How did you get to where you are now career-wise?

I initially embarked on a law degree and realised it was not for me and despite the disbelief of family and friends, I followed my passion and took a degree in History of Art, earning a scholarship at the University of Buckingham. I focused my career on all things visual, starting at an art gallery in Birmingham, then an antique dealers in Mayfair and eventually the position of Senior Associate at Linley. Soon after that, I launched WilliamBanksBlaney interiors and then at the urging of my interiors clients, I took a leap of faith and launched WilliamVintage.

Have you always been creatively-minded?

I have always been drawn to the visual, whether the art market, antiques, interiors or clothing – it’s how my mind works and how I remember things.

You’ve worked in interior design: what inspires you?

I think interior design is wonderful in any form and I am always inspired by a home reflecting its owner, not the decorator. I adore a home that succeeds in doing that and therefore I have executed projects in formal, informal, cosy and grand schemes. Generally I am known for combining the antique with the modern in a more refreshing and unexpected way.

You now work with vintage clothes: what would you say has been your best find? Why vintage?

I have always loved fashion and vintage pieces in particular. Many of my interior clients liked my look and approach to style and I would often find a perfect piece for them on my travels, and it was them who said, ‘You need to do this for others too’.

What are the best and worst parts about running your own business?

The best and worst part of having your own business are the same thing – you’re always working! Your own business becomes your baby and you feed it, shape its future and imagine it growing….if you are doing the right thing, it is always with you!

Do you have any other creative career plans for the future?

I am focusing primarily on growing WilliamVintage and in the middle of a strategic plan for growth. This includes exciting discussions about developing a RTW line and I am also in talks with both US and UK television companies who approached me with a view to a vintage show, so plenty of irons in the fire!

What has been your career highlight to date?

Definitely being interviewed by Vogue and being christened ‘The Vintage King’, only 9 months after the first WilliamVintage sale!

What advice would you give to someone hoping to pursue a creative career?

Follow your strengths and have the courage of your convictions. It is also very important to identify the gaps in your skill set and get someone to help in that area.

WilliamVintage can be found at 2 Marylebone Street, London W1G 5JQ (by appointment only). To make an appointment with William, click here. Visit the WilliamVintage website, read William’s blog WilliamSays and follow him on Twitter: @WilliamVintage


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