This week I was invited to Melbourne to attend the opening of the new Paul Smith store.
It was Paul Smiths first Australasian store opening and given he was attending and there was the opportunity to meet the man himself I jumped on a plane and popped over for the evening.
Much has been written about Sir Paul; on the day we met he was on a plane that evening to Singapore with the next day consisting of 17 interviews whilst a few days earlier ( in between looking for a Sydney site) he had been opening a new store in Japan. The man gets up at 4.00 am every day and is in the office by 6.00. He doesn't sleep on planes and generally seems to have an endless amount of energy, ideas and enthusiasm.
I guess it could be hard to come up with anything original to say about a guy who has spent his whole life being just that so rather than regurgitate what countless interviews, articles and books have done I’ll talk about what I experienced.
What I saw was a man still absolutely passionate about his brand, his retail stores, his product and the people who make it, sell it, promote it and ultimately buy it. He tried to acknowledge everyone in the room and was genuinely interested in their experiences, favorite purchases and stories.
The first piece of designer clothing I ever owned was a pair of Paul Smith Jeans, a girlfriend at the time sent them back for me from the original Floral Street store. The year was 1988 and I recall the experience like it was yesterday. The jeans are long gone but I can still remember the tissue, the swing tag, the bag and the label as if it was yesterday.
They had a profound effect on me and Paul Smith (the man) continues to inspire me to this day.