Sir Paul Smith provides KADK’s upcoming designers with some tips

Date
28.04.2017
Category
Education and students

On 26 April, the doyen of the fashion industry, Sir Paul Smith was in Copenhagen to open a new store. In this context he popped into KADK to give a talk to the Design students, sharing his long-time experience in the industry.

Sir Paul Smith at KADK

We had the opportunity to ask Sir Paul a few questions, and here you can read his tips for the designers of tomorrow.

Today you are giving a lecture for design students. If you could give just one piece of advice to a young designer just starting out, what would it be?

I think I’m a bit biased, but I do think that having hands-on experience is very important. Try and get as much experience of working in the industry as possible – if that means working in a shop selling clothes in your spare time, then do it. I started off in a tiny three metres by three metres space in the basement of a shop in Nottingham and it’s all grown from there. Also “never assume”, it’s the company motto and has saved the business from A LOT of scrapes!

KADK is devoting the next three years to developing design and architecture that can contribute to a more sustainable world. Between 2016 and 2019 all graduation projects in the Architecture and Design programmes will relate to the global goals. How do you see designers contributing to a more sustainable world?

It’s all about acting responsibly. I’ve worked in the fashion industry for over forty years. There has never been more people fishing from the same pond, the market is more competitive than ever before. This means there is a massive amount of oversupply and lots of waste. I’ve always tried to design clothes that can really be worn and loved. Then for the customers it’s about thinking carefully before buying something, just because there’s lots of choice and a lot of it is cheap, doesn’t mean you have to buy it all. Buy good quality clothes, well-produced clothes and you’ll get a lot more use out of them.

Do you, as a fashion designer, have any advice for the students working on projects involving sustainable fashion? 

Have a point of view. Right now, with the industry as crowded as it is, no-one needs another designer so you have to give people a reason to be interested in you. If you’re serious about sustainability, make sure that’s your focus and use it to differentiate yourself from everyone else out there.