Paul Smith is Britain’s top designer famous for his creative spirit and his signature blend of tradition and modernity. The luxury brand is synonymous with colour and playful design, most represented by the iconic stripe print which has had many incarnations over the years. From its origins in one small shop in Nottingham, England, the name has grown into a global business, selling to five continents, over 70 countries, and 3,000 shops. Paul smith remains an independent company, with Paul Smith himself holding the majority stake.
With love, from Nottingham:
British designer Paul Smith was born on 5th july 1946 in Beaston, Nottingham. He was an avid cyclist until he was 17, when a road accident put paid to his competitive dreams. Although, through a new friendship group he found himself amongst a new world of creatively-minded young people and embarked upon a life-long journey of exploration in design, music and fashion. Paul met his present wife Pauline when he was 21, and she introduced him to visual arts, cinema, and much more. Her influence and training at the Royal College of Art were instrumental in developing Paul’s understanding and skill of tailoring and garment design.
He opened his first shop called Paul Smith Vêtements Pour Homme in Nottingham on October 9th, 1970. It sold established clothing labels alongside pieces that he had designed himself. The store was just 3 square metres and was located at 6 Byard Lane in Nottingham. In 1976, Paul travelled to Paris to showcase his first men’s collection, which featured a mix of casual and semi-formal wear. Following its success, he continued to grow, with the first flagship London store opening in 1979 on the floral street in Covent Garden, London.
Fifty years of a quintessentially British label:
Famous for men’s and women’s tailoring, clothing, and accessories collections, the brand specializes in an inventive use of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge design to create beautifully made, modern pieces. Individuality is the key to the brand ethos and is the theme carries through all collections and products created by the designer.
* The 50th anniversary of Paul Smith will be marked by the launch of an eponymous book published by Phaidon, which will celebrate his varied inspirations through portraits of fifty objects. This book is edited by Tony Chambers, with a foreword by Jonathan Ive, and weaves together the selected objects along with quotes and contributions from many of Paul’s friends and collaborators from across his fifty years in business.
* A 50th-anniversary capsule collection of casual menswear and womenswear looks into the vast back-catalog of photo prints that Paul Smith has created over the years. Archive graphics spanning from 1988 to 2002 offer a snapshot of Paul’s vivid approach to design.
* To mark the occasion, the brand has also launched the Paul Smith Foundation in September 2020, to provide helpful advice and guidance for creative people across the world. The digital platform will make available his archive of all the advice he has given and received over the last 50 years. Having advised many young people looking to grow their businesses, the designer now wants to share his learnings with a wider audience. At a moment of celebrating the past, the foundation is a testament to Paul’s drive to always look ahead.
(The information and pictures in the article are courtesy Paul Smith)