Last week 7TH MAN MAGAZINE was invited to an exclusive talk between legendary fashion writer Colin McDowell and designer Paul Smith at Selfridges's Exhibition Hall.
During his introduction, Colin McDowell mentioned that Sir Paul Smith is the only designer who has received a knighthood for Ready-to-Wear, and that the success of the Paul Smith brand lies in giving people what they really want.
Over the next hour and a half, a jovial and good humored Paul Smith took us through a history of his career in a room full of eager listeners, which includes designer Carolyn Massey and interiors impressio David Carter.
Throughout his talk, Paul Smith offered a lot of sound advice based on how he conducted business as a Designer: getting the balance right between staying pure as a designer as well as being able to earn a living.
It was also very evident during his talk that he contributed much to his success to being humble, reliable and honest, having gratitude and respect for others and their differences.
There are too many highlights to mention here, and later a video of this conversation will be added to this blogpost when it becomes available.
There are a few interesting points that we would like to share with you meanwhile....
1) The turning point in Paul Smith's career came when he met his then future wife Pauline in Nottingham where he lived back in the 60's.
Pauline taught at the Nottingham University 2 days a week, and previous to that she taught at the Royal College in London.
Back in the 60's, the Royal College taught what Sir Paul described as "couture education, a foundation for future life", and through Pauline, Paul learned about pattern cutting, and the importance of good quality fabric and construction as a foundation for fashion design.
Pauline designed and made a lot of the garments which was sold in Sir Paul's shop in Nottingham in the early years.
2) Colin McDowell: "Paul Smith is considered a God in Japan!"
His expansion in Japan happened back in 1982/3, when a well mannered Mr. Yamaguchi from Japan came into his shop in Covent Garden out of the blue with a book full of Paul Smith cuttings, offering Paul Smith the possibility of a license of the Paul Smith brand in Japan.....and the rest is history!!
3) How Paul Smith became a magpie.....
In the early days, the Paul Smith shop in Nottingham consisted only of a 12' x 12' room with no windows - and as soon as a customer walked into the shop, s/he would be confronted with merchandise....
As a way to make customers more comfortable and to break the ice, Sir Paul started collecting various knic-knacs from different places to use as conversation pieces. Over the years this has evolved into the many interesting and unexpected items and collaborations of the Paul Smith brand.
Watch out for the video coming soon for more interesting facts and info from the designer himself......