Paul Smith at Milano Unica
11 Feb. 2013
Paul Smith Opens Milano UnicaBritish designer Paul Smith participated in the opening of the 16th edition of Milano Unica on 6 February 2013 - read the preview on sportswearnet.com. Being a high estimator of high quality Italian fabrics he accepted the invitation of the show giving tips on how Italian fabric manufacturers can show and explain to the global apparel market the superb value of their manufacturing.
"I love Italy. I've been working in this country for the last 20 years and ever since I've visited every single edition of Moda in Ideabiella, and Milano Unica, since all shows joined together. It is a pity not many designers do as I do, since they miss a good deal of inspiration; I wouldn’t have found this inspiration from only being sat in my studio," commented the designer.
Smith then urged entrepreneurs to change their way to work with their fabrics: "Lateral thinking is indispensable. Of course fashion designers can let their brands be known through advertising and show their collections through fashion shows, which are often most appealing, and can be live streamed worldwide immediately, but you can show very colourful collections - and not simply navy blue, black and grey pinstriped ones. And even if you will end up selling mostly the same hues, also including a red suit in your collection can be worn by rockstars and celebrities and those will give you worldwide visibility. "
He also pointed out that in the last years before 2009 the crack of Lehman Brothers were years of “rampant consumerism" when people were used to buying too many cars, jewels and luxury products they couldn't afford. "One has to find the right balance between image making and spending - you cannot borrow one Pound and spend four. In addition to this you can also start advertising; you can show your collection in different contexts while showing off your weapons which are service, personality and efficiency."
There is also a tendency to abuse aspects that can become boring and useless, such as the word "luxury", which he considers overused, and "heritage" which has a nostalgic meaning that translates 'You don't know how good I used to be'. "Many have the heritage but not the money to make it effective," he commented.
He also recognises how important shopping streets look all the same in every international capital. While LVMH owns about 60 brands, PPR manages 18 and Richemont 19, he manages his company alone and when entering an important shopping mall best locations are often gone. In order to win the overall uniformity his tips are: "Individuality is vital and it is important having one's own point of view. For instance, collaborations are important if well-chosen." He designed a bicycle model, a snowboard for Burton and a camera for Leica which was sold out even moths before it was sold in stores. He also collaborated for a historical footwear brand - John Lobb in Paris. That gave him a visibility in terms, for instance, of free editorials whose worth is comparable to an investment in advertising of 2,187,690 British Pounds. Not bad.
"For this; stop making sense. Logic is predictable. Think different. Do things which are right, not which are easy."
Maria Cristina Pavarini
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