Paul Smith on ideas and inspiration

The famed fashion designer on coming up with ideas for new collections – and finding inspiration in unlikely sources

It’s the details that make the difference at Paul Smith’s eponymous fashion label. The designer is famous for putting an unconventional spin on everyday items – whether it’s a dark blue suit with a patterned lining or a plain white shirt with a striped cuff. These ‘classics with a twist’ have earned Smith a loyal fanbase around the world and helped set his brand apart from its many competitors.

Smith has also made his name through more experimental fashion designs and collaborations with a wide range of brands from Leica to Rapha and Cutler + Gross. He has been serving up colourful collections for almost 50 years and his brand remains a much-loved label in the UK and abroad – thanks in no small part to his diverse and prolific output.

Speaking to an audience at the House of Instagram in London earlier this year, Smith explained how his love of photography helped him hone his eye for colour, pattern and striking visuals – and has continued to inspire him throughout his career. He also discussed how he comes up with ideas for new collections and how he has grown his business into a global brand with stores in 73 countries.

DESIGNER

Worthing, West Sussex

INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

Frome, Somerset

SENIOR DESIGNER

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire