We are very pleased that we were able to convince British fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith, to serve as a guest author for our brand new Italian Issue. Smith is deeply tied to Italy, and to its fashion and textile manufacturers. Read here why he believes that by choosing a clear direction and identity the country can keep its quality and creatively rich industry alive.
I have a deep history with Italy, both personally and professionally. Amongst many other things, Paul Smith is known for suits and many of those suits are made in Italy, using Italian cloths. Also many of our other suppliers for knitwear and so on are based in Italy. I’m very involved in every aspect of the business and so have long been visiting the factories and familiarizing myself with each stage of the process. I’m also privileged enough to have my own house in Tuscany in Italy which I visit for a month every summer. I’ve been going there for over 20 years and it’s a beautiful and very restful place that I always look forward to going back to.
Italy is a very unique place when it comes to fashion. Italians have style in their blood, they’re born with it. Growing up in Italy, people take what they wear seriously and it’s very normal to be considered in the way you’re dressing and to make an effort. It’s very different to a typical British approach to dressing, which is more individual.
I can find endless inspiration for this country. I always say "you can find inspiration in everything, and if you can't look again." It's very much about not walking around looking at the screen of your phone or spending hours and hours in front of a computer. Go for a walk in your lunch hour and when you're travelling to new places think locally, appreciate different architecture and different colors. Enjoy the wonderful light of Venice or the long shadows in Tuscany it's all about being aware of life on earth and appreciating what your eyes are seeing.
Lucca is a very beautiful place. It is my favorite Italian city... I’m a big fan of cycling and so I love to cycle around the city walls of Lucca. And then I have a home close to the sea that I spend time in every summer. I’ve been going back year after year for a long time. It’s a very special place. The light in Tuscany is like nowhere else in the world.
Going back to Made in Italy, I love it and I really hope it will survive. I really hope so!
The industry has never been more competitive than it is at the moment. It’s always been a very fast-paced business but it feels more so like that than ever before. It was a very different starting a creative business in the ’60s compared to now. There were a lot fewer people fishing from the pond that is the fashion industry. Now it’s incredibly competitive. The advice I’d give is to make sure Italian entrepreneurs is: “Have a clear point of view, after all nobody needs another fashion designer so you have to choose something, stick to it and do your best to stand out!”
Thinking about the future of fashion and sportswear, I think it’s impossible to foresee. Fashion is always changing, it’s about today and tomorrow. I’m always just excited to see what’s coming next!
Find out more about the stars and shapers of our Italian ISSUE in the brand new print magazine or check the digital magazine here.