|A miniature model of his studio made by a Japanese fan from newspaper|
As I keep bringing up, I went to Paul Smith HQ last Thursday for a tour of his studio's and to meet the man himself. It was a school trip with my A-Level textiles class, my teacher had sent him an email about something and he kindly invited us over. He is from Nottingham near to where our school is, so we had a minor link.
When we arrived for our appointment, we went up 4 levels to his design studio. The walls and stairways are adorned with framed photographs, paintings and letters. He was very welcoming and allowed us to look at and touch any of his things, and take photographs as we pleased. He is a hoarder that keeps precious and kitsch objects in and around his studio and elsewhere. He is often sent things from across the world and has many fans that regularly write to him and send him presents.
One of the first things we did was have a group photo and chat about things. He pulled me onto the table as I was wearing a trouser suit to sit next to him. I found him absolutely hilarious and for a 65 year old he has so much character. He gave us advice about the fashion industry etc.
We then went to meet his staff who were all lovely and looked after us so well. I spoke to some of his print/ shoe designers, a guy that designs the shop layouts at his stores in Japan, and the social media team. On the lower floors he let us look around at some of his designs. He explained and showed to us how he creates ties and linings, how he develops prints from taking photo's on his iPhone using a Hipstamatic app and how his signature stripes are created- using different coloured yarns.
I had such an amazing time and said to him at the end that I wanted to go and hide somewhere and not leave... but genuinely it was such a nice place with an amazing atmosphere. Hopefully I will get to meet Paul or visit again. I think that just seeing his belongings and how he designs and creates collections was amazing, the advice he gave was also amazing.
Thanks again to Paul and his team!