Now a massive British fashion export to nearly 200 stores worldwide, fashion designer Paul Smith “supplemented [his] income through working like hell doing anything” Monday to Thursday when first starting out. By doing so, he was able to open a tiny shop of his own on Fridays and Saturdays. In the book Designers are Wankers, author Lee McCormack interviews Smith about keeping your personal work authentic:
Don’t think that you can earn a living from what you are going to try to do straight away, try to supplement it by consultancy, by even working in a bar or just doing anything just to earn a living to pay the rent and to eat. Then try to keep your purity, because by keeping your purity, if – and it’s a big ‘if’ – you are offering something that is different, it might not get accepted straight away. But eventually it might mean that you are the one that’s different and people will be attracted to it and eventually you can start to progress.
If Smith tried to make a living from his work right away, he would have had to tailor is designs to the aesthetic of the general public. Instead he choose to keep his own personal work separate so he could make the statements he wanted without the pressure of it providing an income.