Born in 1946 in Nottingham, Sir Paul Smith is a famous British fashion designer. When he was 15, he left school without any qualifications and went to work in a clothing warehouse. His dream as a child was to become a racing cyclist but at the age of 17 his hope of sport career fell into pieces when he was badly injured in a cycling accident, which forced him to stay in a hospital for six months. There he met friends who introduced him to the world of art and fashion. Once he had recovered, Paul finally knew what he wanted: working in the fashion industry. After attending tailoring classes and working at Savile Row, he opened his own shop in Nottingham in 1970. Ten years later he was one of the first fashion designers to open a shop in Covent Garden. Since then he has never stopped doing his best in order to maintain his place on the fashion scene, mixing both business success and aesthetic value.
Smith started in the fashion industry with menswear collections which made him earn an international fame. Nowadays there are no less than 12 labels of the brand: Paul Smith, Paul Smith London, Paul Smith Jeans, PS by Paul Smith, etc. The women’s collection was formed in the 90’s, followed by the children’s one. With more than 200 shops and 500 wholesales, Smith’s products are now available in different parts of the world namely Antwerp, Paris, Dubai, Tokyo and Las Vegas."I give classics just a little kick" is his own motto. Paul Smith is indeed a traditional British designer with British cuts, but he always adds a colourful touch with his worldwide famous multicolour stripes.
Smith’s touch can be found in many other items: furniture, perfume, cameras, cars, and all kinds of unexpected objects such as cricket balls, the Lasonic i931 (a boom box) and lastly the London 2012 Olympic Games stamps. Not surprisingly, the man is still interested in sport but with a different approach. His contribution to sport item’s design is huge.
He has already participated to different kinds of projects such as the design of a bottle for Evian, of a Triumph motorbike, or the creation of suits for the footballers of Manchester United.
In 1991 he was recognised as an icon of the fashion industry when he got the distinction of Royal Designer for Industry given by Royal Society of Arts. This price rewards the designers for their contribution to the benefit to the nation, for their aesthetic value and design excellence. He was knighted by Queen in 2000 as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to the nation’s fashion industry.
Being a very active man, Paul Smith is not only a name, but a talented designer and retailer as well as a photograph. At the moment, this talented artist is one of the main designers of the early 21st century and will probably not stop surprising us.
“You can find inspiration in everything (and if you can't, look again)”
by Julien Leclercq and Elisa Venturi