WHAT I’M PACKING

Travel tips from legendary British fashion designer, Paul Smith

First of all, know what your journey is going to be, how long you are going to be away for and what the demands required of you are…

Only take what you really, really need. In my case I tend to wear a suit everyday because it’s very practical and I’m still very old-school. I have lots of pieces of paper and pens and normally a camera, so a suit works for me. It depends on your lifestyle but, when it comes to packing, my advice is to keep it simple. Normally people take too much. I personally only like to travel with cabin luggage, even if I’m going away for a long time. Do a bit of research on where you’re going in advance, whether it’s a humid country or rainy season or it’s going to be cold. In my job I’ve been to five countries in one day before – a bit mad to say the least!

I always travel with a notebook because that’s my work…

Then it’s very much about where you’re going. I do a suit that doesn’t crease, which is perfect for travelling. I like to think I’m an onion – it’s all about layers. My capsule set would be lots of different pairs of socks – we’re famous for our socks at Paul Smith – boxer shorts, a couple of suits and a couple of shirts. Nice and simple.

When I get on a plane I put my watch to the time of the place I’m going to and then I never ever think about anything else…

I don’t worry about jet lag or the food or time difference or anything like that – I just get on and think ‘I’m on Japan time now’ or wherever it may be. I don’t watch movies, I’m just absolutely delighted to not have anybody talking to me! I might put some headphones in but it won’t be plugged in at the other end. It’s just so the person next to me doesn’t talk to me. On long-haul flights I normally write between 25 and 30 postcards to friends around the world, which is something I do most mornings of my life. I still like the idea of writing things by hand. I think emails are very practical but they’re very impersonal. You can’t do a funny little sketch or write in green ink. So I still do that and people really enjoy receiving a card from different places around the world.

My mementos are normally photographs…

My father was an amatuer photographer so I was weaned on photography from the age of 11 – I’m used to taking pictures more or less every day. My dad taught me to look and see. I think a lot of people look but they don’t see. I think I’m blessed with seeing and that helps me with my job, especially when you’re shooting with film. These days we take 20 pictures with a phone, delete half and you can see what you’ve done straight away but when it was film, when I was 11 and buying film with my pocket money and you’ve only got 36 exposures, you didn’t want to be making mistakes. By looking through the viewfinder you learn how to see because you didn’t want to waste your film. I think that’s helped me a lot. Photography has become a visual diary.

Globe-Trotter and Paul Smith collaborated on a special edition case in April this year.