Paul Smith

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Articles on Paul Smith

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Color isn’t something one would necessarily associate with men’s fashion. Men’s clothing is usually neutral tones, with maybe a pop of color to spice up the outfit. When one thinks of menswear, one might automatically think of black suits, charcoal jackets, beige pants, and the like. It’s rare for luxury brands to offer menswear in pops of color, but it’s not that outrageous as well. Through the years, some designers have broadened and opened up the world of menswear to be more liberated and colorful. They challenged the traditions of the craft and created garments that are as eye-catching as womenswear, maybe even more. Among this legion of designer labels is Paul Smith.

Paul Smith, the designer himself, is known as one of the best-dressed men in the UK. His unique sense of style is captured in his brand, known for offering men quirky and colorful fashions. His style is not that of his contemporaries, as he pushes the envelope in terms of what makes a gentleman a well-dressed individual. For him, neutral tones and string tailoring is not enough. To really make an impact, it takes vibrancy, energy, and funk-all things found in his collections. This is why he’s become one of the biggest names in fashion today.

Man with Paul Smith black leather bag before Etro fashion show in Milan, Italy.
Man with Paul Smith black leather bag before Etro fashion show in Milan, Italy. Photo: andersphoto

Racer dreams turned fashion excellence

Designer Paul Smith
Designer Paul Smith. Photo: redvisitor

Born July 5, 1946, Paul Smith grew up inspired by the articles of clothing he often saw. His brother worked in the Post Office and Smith was inspired by his crisp uniforms. He was also influenced by the tweed garments from the Nottinghamshire countryside, where he spent most of his childhood. At age 15, he left school to work as an errand boy in a clothing company in Nottingham. He initially wanted to become a racer, but a major accident at the job pushed his dreams aside. He was hospitalized for six months, during which he developed a love for art and fashion. Once he was back working again, he rose up the ranks to become a menswear buyer for the company.

In 1970, Paul Smith opened his first shop on 10 Byard Lane, Nottingham and called it Paul Smith Vêtement Pour Homme. Aside from his own designs, he sold pieces from Kenzo and Margaret Howell in his store, as well. In 1976, he debuted his first ever menswear collection in Paris, which became an instant hit among the fashion crowd. His clothes were new, fresh, and vibrant—matching the exuberant taste of fashion at the time. Because of such acclaim, he expanded his business and opened retail shops in cities like London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. In 2000, Smith was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to British fashion and his excellence in the field.

Monogramming service

Paul Smith Boutique on Albemarle street, in Mayfair. London, UK.
Paul Smith Boutique on Albemarle street, in Mayfair. London, UK. Photo: Chrispictures

A major principle of Paul Smith’s fashions is individuality. However, marketing and spreading the word out about the brand is also important as well. Having combined these two together, the label came up with a monogramming service to help personalize their items as well as keep the brand identity present within them. One can bring their Paul Smith items, from leather goods to a host of various accessories, and have them monogrammed with either the Paul Smith logo or their initials.

For a more unique look with that signature Paul Smith quirks, they also do monograms of the designer’s doodles as well. In terms of the initials, however, the limit their service to up to 3 initials only.


Paul Smith Junior - Childrenwear

In 1990, the brand launched their childrenswear collection. Because their identity is all about quirkiness and color, their aesthetic fit right in among the younger and more petite consumer audience. The label soon became a big name in the childrenswear market, especially with the high-quality touch they put on their items that are reminiscent of their menswear and womenswear. Entitled Paul Smith Junior, the children’s line consists of colorful garments for all ages. They even offer sets for infants, complete with bibs and a hat for an entire Paul Smith baby look. The Junior line is available in almost all the Paul Smith stores in the world, as well as in their own e-commerce website.

Paul Smith’s stars

Paul Smith

With their unique touch and show-stopping designs, a lot of celebrities have fallen in love with the Paul Smith look. The likes of actresses Charlize Theron, Katie Holmes, and Cate Blanchett have all worn either a garment or an accessory from the beloved British fashion house. Other prominent figures include model Karlie Kloss (both on and off the runway), Alexa Chung, and socialite Olivia Palermo, among many others. For men, actors Jon Hamm and Ryan Cabrera, and musical artists Tinie Tempah and John Legend have all been spotted wearing Paul Smith suits and casual wear in both formal and informal events. However, perhaps one of the most important people in the fashion industry is also known to appreciate Paul Smith and his fashions: the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour herself. She’s a known front-row fixture during his fashion shows.

Paul Smith means a lot to British fashion and menswear. The brand’s designs opened up the world to a new look for the fashionable and stylish gentleman. One that is free, exuberant, and fun, but still has the strict tailoring and attention to detail that is embedded in the traditions of British menswear.

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