Paul Smith with the lovely Lis from Last Year’s Girl
Hello! I was very kindly invited along to the blogger and press preview for Hello My Name is Paul Smith exhibition at The Lighthouse in Glasgow. We were treated to a tour of the exhibition by the man himself, and what a treat it was! Sir Paul Smith has had a prolific career yet still remains incredibly humble and down to earth. His attitude reflects his modest beginnings. Paul Smith opened a tiny shop with only £600 and was only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Now, he has hundreds of shops all over the world, Japan is a particularly big market for him, as well as other arms of his business such as perfume and collaborative projects.
Paul Smith’s wife, Pauline was pivotal in starting his business up. She trained at art college and helped him learn design. The both of them worked tirelessly at establishing the business. The exhibition takes you through the very modest beginnings and injects his love of art into his brand. You’ll see lots of art works from all kinds of people including Cindy Sherman and children. There’s a replica of Paul Smith’s office and design studio. A gallery that gives an insight into his shop designs from around the world, every one is unique and lends to the context it’s in. And of course there’s a selection of his clothes.
Adding to the charm of the exhibition is a small room which is really quite similar to an art instillation. In it you’ll find an array of artefacts that an unknown person has been sending to Paul for around 30 years. There’s a plastic banana, a bike, a chair, along with other assorted items. I think this is a really endearing addition to the exhibition, adding an extra dimension of warmth and intrigue.
Throughout the tour Paul Smith was very philosophical about his career and life. He maintains the importance of keeping your feet firmly on the ground and striking a good balance. Key to this is what he describes as lateral thinking. He’s particularly influenced by the works of Edward de Bono.
Paul Smith feels the fashion industry has changed so much from when he started out in the 70s. He commented that it’s more about what everyone else is up to and social media has played a significant part in this change. He maintains that you should express yourself, not others. And, like me, he hates the term “on trend” ugh.
Ultimately, he hopes the exhibition will inspire younger designers starting out. Paul Smith believes inspiration is to be found everywhere and from everything. His father, an amateur photographer, was a big influence on how he sees the world and how he adapts that vision into his designs. Paul loves to observe the world, from the big to the small and all the contradictions within.
On exiting the exhibition there’s a huge post-it note with the message “Everyday is a new beginning”. If it didn’t go right for you today, you can start again tomorrow. A brilliant message that we could all use. Hello My Name is Paul Smith is an inspiring, exciting exhibition that anyone with a love of design, fashion and art should definitely go and see. It’s on until 20th March 2016.