Meet ruby slevin and rocco tullio, tailors and founders of london-based banshee of savile row. this creative duo proves two heads really are better than one …
Banshee launched in summer 2019, the brainchild of Slevin and Tullio (son of the late restaurant critic Paolo), who have known each other since childhood but only became romantically linked in 2010: “We’ve known each other as family friends since we were teenagers – literally every family member on both sides knew each other – but didn’t start going out until we were in our twenties, after a five-year gap when we were both travelling. Once we returned to Ireland, that was it. After just six days, we knew it was for life. Ruby packed in her job in Melbourne and we started our new life together. We married in our garden in Wicklow in June 2015, six days after Rocco’s father Paolo passed away – a bittersweet time.”
Ruby studied fashion design at the Grafton Academy and then went on to do an apprenticeship on Savile Row with the Cad and the Dandy. This led to Ruby working on Savile Row for three years designing and cutting in men’s and women’s bespoke tailoring. Rocco had studied fine art in Italy and was an artist working in oil painting, sculpting and architectural design. “We used our house deposit money as funding to set up the business. It was a massive risk making that decision but if we didn’t, we would always wonder, what if?”
Photographs by Simon Melber
“The money, dedication and tenacity required to set up and maintain a fashion brand is immense. We worked on every aspect of the business until we felt it was ready to launch. We spent two years creating our jacket block as we strove for perfection. Securing premises on London’s Savile Row meant we were finally ready to launch. Launching in London and Dublin and seeing clients happy and confident in Banshee clothing makes it all worthwhile. The ups are easy – creating something that we are proud of, in an industry that we love, in a manner that is sustainable, working with great people. The downs – working non-stop, often having no time for a social life – are not so great.”
“Our atelier on Savile Row is on the first floor of a Georgian building with working fireplace, high ceilings and natural light. It’s a great experience for clients, in the heart of Mayfair, next to Soho. If we are having a tough day, we pop into the Royal Academy for inspiration.”
“We are working on spring/summer now, using Irish linens and Italian seersuckers, thinking safari and Katherine Hepburn as inspiration and working with clients on bespoke pieces in velvet and Donegal tweed. We plan monthly consultations and fittings in Dublin.”
The money, dedication and tenacity required to set up and maintain a fashion brand is immense.
THE EARLY RISER/THE NIGHT OWL: We are both night owls: we’ve had to train ourselves to be morning people. WHO MAKES THE COFFEE? One of us brings the other tea in bed in the morning. This is part of our ritual – we are both so bad at waking up, it helps to soften the blow of the dreaded alarm clock. THE MONEY-MINDED ONE? Rocco thinks about the bigger picture and down-the-line planning. THE CREATIVE LEAD? Ruby comes up with the “big ideas”; Rocco makes them make sense. THE HERE-AND-NOWER/THE FUTURIST? Rocco is the here and now, occasionally dealing in harsh reality, Ruby sets impossible future goals. And then together we reach them! THE EXTROVERT/THE INTROVERT? Rocco is definitely the extrovert and Ruby is the introvert. WHO BLOWS, WHO STEWS? We both blow! It can be useful to get things off our chest and clear the air quickly. We don’t have time to simmer anymore! WHICH ONE OF YOU IS ALWAYS RIGHT? Aha! Best say both! www.bansheeofsavilerow.com @bansheeofsavilerow
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