The 5-minute Interview: Ben de Lisi, Fashion designer

'I can't stop myself impulse-buying'
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The Independent Online

The American Ben de Lisi, 50, began showing at London Fashion Week in 1994 and has won many British Fashion Council awards. Now based in London, he is a judge and mentor on Sky One's 'Project Catwalk'.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be ...

Sketching for the new collections.

I wish people would take more notice of ...

Their immediate environment. People should be more house-proud and take more care of their local areas.

A phrase I use too often ...

"Hi sweetie." I say it all the time.

The most surprising thing to happen to me was ...

My 50th birthday party was the biggest surprise I ever had. I didn't have any idea what had been arranged. There were 300 people there I was totally shocked. I thought I was going to have an intimate meal with friends but people came from all over the world.

A common misperception of me is ...

That I have this amazing, glamorous, jet-set lifestyle, whereas I am much more of a stay at home with my dogs in front of the television kind of guy.

I am not a politician but ...

If I was in London, I would get rid of the congestion charge. I don't think it has made any difference to the traffic. Everywhere is still just as busy as before.

I'm good at ...

Cooking mostly southern Italian food. Oh I'm very good at television watching, being on television, everything. I find presenting comes naturally to me.

I'm very bad at ...

Avoiding impulse-buying. I can't help myself.

The ideal night out is ...

Dinner at a nice restaurant with friends. I like the old faithfuls like the Ivy, the Wolseley, Hakkasan. After dinner, I'd go for a walk along the river with my dogs and be in bed by 1am.

In weak moments I ...

Become overly emotional and send needy texts.

You know me as a fashion designer but in truer life I'd have been ...

A famous sculptor.

The best age to be is...

The age I am now. I am resolved and focused.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this ...

If you want it, you can get it. It's about being positive.

Ben Naylor

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