VITAL SIGNS: “The thing about this week — these three days even — is that it’s awful! What are you doing to me? All of this competition!” said Sir Paul Smith, who took part in a Q&A session at BAFTA with International Herald Tribune scribe Suzy Menkes over the weekend as part of the London men’s collections lineup.

He talked about how he sustains his business worldwide. “My staff will always tell you that when Paul stands up to give a talk he will say: ‘I’m not the VIP, I appreciate the press, and of course I appreciate the buyers, but the people are the VIP,’” he said. “The customer is vital and unfortunately a lot of the designers, when they establish themselves, go into their ivory towers and they lose touch with the person paying their wage.”

This story first appeared in the June 18, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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