Kate Banks’ love for carefully crafted fashion started at a young age, & with her label By Banks, everything she creates is centred around slow fashion, quality over quantity and avoiding fleeting, wasteful trends.
Tell us about By Banks.
My lady's fashion brand is made up of multi-seasonal, classic styles and personalised workmanship. Designed and hand-constructed in the farmhouse studio, catering to the modern, stylish, conscious woman. Stitching pieces that will stand by her for years to come.
What inspired you to start By Banks?
My Mum and both my grandmothers are sewers and growing up, during the school holidays when we’d go shopping I’d always ask my mum for new clothes and her response was always, “Okay, we’ll go and pick out some fabric and sew it ourselves!”
After finally giving in, I realised it was actually so satisfying to bring to life an idea that I had and take even more pride in what I wore. While I was at Uni studying fashion, we were pressured a lot into finding internships and jobs with all the big fashion names, and I knew my path was different. I couldn’t let myself be a part of all the waste, the poor quality, and awful working conditions (amongst many other issues), and something was drawing me back home to the country.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of starting your own business?
Watching the label grow is my favourite part. It started as an idea and, over the past few years, has evolved and is now holding its own and has become a little community!
I thrive on the customer service side of things as well; I LOVE talking to my shoppers and clients, getting to know them and letting them get to know me. I also love helping them find something that makes them feel beautiful.
What are some challenges you have faced in owning your own business?
I wouldn’t want By Banks to be based anywhere else, but running a label in the bush presents pretty unique challenges, relying on the postal service for virtually everything due to the isolated nature of running a label hours from where the heart of Australian fashion is booming. From packaging to fabric and everything in between. The other thing, surprisingly, is the weather! My dad is a farmer, and I grew up seeing him and his business be at the mercy of the weather. Now, here I am in a completely different type of business, but still being at a standstill if it’s pouring and the dirt road is impassable.
What have you sacrificed for your career?
Instead of taking a well-paying job through my degree, I have opted to be my own boss and plant the seed of my own success. There is much to be gained in doing so, but this means a big sacrifice financially. All the money I make, I have to pour back into the label. Lucky I’m (semi) patient!
Where do you envision yourself in five years?
I hope to have a flagship store and studio space where customers can shop, get a fitting, and see the sewing and patternmaking all in one place. I’d also love to be planning a presentation with Australian Fashion Week.
What’s on the horizon for By Banks in 2023?
There has been a huge uptake for my bespoke service so far this year, so lots of wedding guest outfits and as we speak, I’m currently drafting patterns for my Autumn RTW Drop on the website.
location: Collie | NSW
facebook: by banks apparel