Sir Paul Smith, RDI, (born in Beeston, Nottingham on July 5, 1946) is an English fashion designer, whose business and reputation is founded upon his menswear. He is both commercially successful and highly respected within the fashion industry.
Smith was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001, after nearly three decades as a menswear icon. His collections of clothing and accessories for both men and women are usually identified by the presence of Smith's multi-coloured pinstripe motif somewhere on each item.
A shop called Willoughby House also opened in 2005 in Smith's home town of Nottingham, which showcases both his men's and women's collections. His first shop on Byard Lane also still remains, selling his PS Jeans label.
The success of Smith's business has been put down to his understanding of his dual roles of both designer and retailer; the success of his designs is attributed to his combination of the classic and the quirky, which he has described as "Savile Row meets Mr Bean", and which allows men to buy relatively traditional (and hence commercially popular) designs that offer a 'twist' of individuality.
Today there are 12 different collections; Paul Smith, Paul Smith Women, PS by Paul Smith, Paul Smith Jeans, Paul Smith London, R.Newbold (Japan only), Paul Smith Accessories, Paul Smith Shoes, Paul Smith Fragrance, Paul Smith Watches, Paul Smith Pens and Paul Smith furniture and ‘things’. Designed in Nottingham and London, the Paul Smith collections are primarily produced in England and Italy while the fabrics used are mainly Italian, French and British. The company has annual revenue over £300 million as of 2006.
Paul Smith's collections are wholesaled to 35 countries and has 14 shops in England. Paul Smith shops are found in London, Nottingham, Leeds, Antwerp, Paris, Milan, Moscow, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Kuwait, UAE – and over two hundred throughout Japan. Smith remains fully involved in the Japanese business; designing the clothes, choosing the fabrics, approving the shop locations and overseeing every development within the company. Paul Smith also has impressive and diverse showrooms in London, Paris, Milan, New York and Tokyo.
Smith's menswear collections cater largely to men of tall, slim builds - a niche market that very few high street designers have targeted. Apart from his multi-coloured stripes, Paul Smith has created waves in the fashion world with his "naked lady" designs - pictures of a naked lady "hidden" inside cuffs or wallets, for example. Likewise the Paul Smith sock collections, which contain some designs that use his signature stripes, are particularly sought after.
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