A day out: Hello Paul Smith

Julia Langley, Paul Smith, Design Museum,

Julia Langley at the Paul Smith exhibition, Design Museum, London

The Blue Patch team are going to be popping up all over the country hunting for great design, so for inspiration and direction Julia (painter of flowers and recently, cobwebs) and I went to ‘Hello, My Name is Paul Smith’. This exhibition on one of our favourite British fashion designers, is at the Design Museum, London. It runs until 22nd June 2014.

Paul Smith, launch, fashion,

Mock up of the hotel room where Paul Smith launched his business

For anyone starting a business this is really worth seeing as Paul Smith’s top tips make good sense and it’s fascinating to get an insight into his working life. Of course he has buckets of talent and his freewheeling imagination drives the engine of a global business. However stepping into the reconstruction of his minuscule first shop in Nottingham makes you appreciate what starting at the beginning means. Being small is okay, it’s actually normal. When only one visitor turned up when he launched his first collection from a hotel room, most would have given up, but that one person placed an order and Paul Smith the brand was born.

workshop, paul smith, designer

The happy clutter of a creative space

The exhibition is teeming with his bits and bobs. A plastic flower or a tiny tin robot, a 1950s comic, all have the power to migrate into his next collection. And Paul Smith’s best tip for designers? What matters he says, is looking, but you have to also see, see the potential in stuff, in the world’s teeming street markets, in rhythmic iron railings, a scruffy pair of curtains, plastic buttons, colours and stitching in Indian fabric, patterns on a vintage tie…..design ideas are everywhere and they’re fun.

Paul Smith's motto

Paul Smith’s motto

We were really interested in how Paul Smith’s creativity has spilled across Minis, Mercian cycles (I’m a fan too), t-shirts, teapots, rugs and chairs and it’s infectious, making you believe we can collaborate in making our world colourful. So Paul Smith is a bit of a beacon for Blue Patch as we set out to discover more of that magical mix of imagination and skill.

Paul Smith, Mini, Blue Patch