Born in England, Tony Bannister was Head of Design and later Studio Manager at DESIGN INTELLIGENCE in London in the 1980’s, before emigrating to Australia.
After ten years experience in both the retail and product development side of the fashion industry, Tony’s skills and design talents were highly sought after. The logical next step was was to set up his own consulting agency.
In 1999 SCOUT was established in Sydney as a private consultancy, helping other brands with their image, product and buying strategies, working across all aspects of design and buying. In 2008 the agency was expanded with the trend forecast and publishing division and later the web site and online subscriptions, offering a custom made service, not readily available at that time.
SCOUT has a hand-selected network of dedicated agents who represent both its online and hard copy trend reports; consequently, word of this unique service is spreading and the business is growing internationally, with agencies in Japan, Hong Kong, the US and Canada, Europe and Scandinavia and now the UK. With a network of scouts and editors in the key fashion capitals, SCOUT is switched on to the latest trends, stores, happenings and events which its clients and readers are hungry for on a daily basis.
Prior to SCOUT, the 1990’s saw him heading up one of Australia’s leading junior retailers, SPORTSGIRL, with an 18-25 age demographic and fast-paced, trend-driven product. Responsible for all aspects of apparel and accessories, product design and buying plus Visual Merchandising and Marketing Tony developed a thorough understanding of the Australian retail landscape and consumer.
Tony was then head-hunted by one of Australia’s most influential fashion entrepreneurs, the Lew family, owners of the Witchery and Seed retail stores, Voyager and Jump manufacturing plus franchise owners of French Connection and Zara in Australia. Tony’s brief as Creative Director was to assist the owners in the turnaround of the Witchery division from a newly purchased but ailing brand, into the leading women’s retailer in the 25-40+ demographic.
Tony saw a gap in the market during the mid 90’s for this fashion-forward, adult demographic and made dramatic changes to the brand focus, the product offering, marketing and merchandising.
Witchery went on to win Brand of the Year in 1998. With 185 stores across Australia and New Zealand Witchery is now expanding into the Singapore and South Africa markets.
He then, he went on to revive the iconic label SPORTSCRAFT, a brand known for beautiful quality with a strong Australian heritage.