Paul Smith’s introduction into fashion was completely accidental. At the age of 16, with no career plans or qualifications, his father propelled him into a menial job at the local clothing warehouse in his native city of Nottingham. However his real passion was sport and he had an ambition to become a professional racing cyclist, until aged 17 years when cycling- mad Paul was in a terrible accident.

Six months in hospital followed and during this time Paul made some new friends. After leaving hospital he arranged to meet them again and by chance the meeting place was a local pub that was popular with the students from the local art college.

They talked of Mondrian, Warhol, Kokoshka, David Bailey and listened to the Rolling Stones, Miles Davis and much more. It was then Paul knew he wanted to be a part of this colourful world of ideas and excitement.

Within two years, Paul Smith was managing his first boutique in Nottingham and with the encouragement of his girlfriend Pauline Denyer (now his wife) and a small amount of savings, opened a tiny shop in 1970. Paul started to take evening classes for tailoring and with the help of Pauline (an RCA fashion graduate), Paul was able to create what he wanted. By 1976 Paul showed his first menswear collection in Paris under the Paul Smith label.

Within 20 years of his introduction to fashion, Paul Smith had established himself as a pre-eminent British designer. Paul Smith has an ability to anticipate and even spark off trends not only in fashion, but also in the wider context of popular culture. He manages to transmit a genuine sense of humour and mischief mixed with his love of tradition and the classics.

Today the collections are: Paul Smith Men, Paul Smith Women, Paul Smith Black, Paul by Paul Smith, Paul Smith London, PS Paul Smith, Paul Smith Jeans, R Newbold (Japan Only), Paul Smith Accessories, Paul Smith Shoe, Paul Smith Fragrance, Paul Smith Spectacles, Paul Smith Watch, Paul Smith Luggage, Paul Smith China, Paul Smith Rugs and Paul Smith Furniture & Curiosity. Rugs, China, Spectacles, & Fragrance are made under license. 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 origin.

Paul Smith is global – the collections are wholesaled to thirty five countries and have 14 shops in England. Paul Smith shops are found in London, Nottingham, Paris, Milan, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines, Korea, Kuwait, U.A.E., St Petersburg, Cape Town, Antwerp, Bangalore, and throughout Japan. Paul 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, Antwerp, New York and Tokyo.

Today, Paul Smith limited remains self financed and Paul Smith himself continues to be an integral part of the company. He is chairman and head designer. As a result Paul Smith Limited retains a personal touch unique to a fashion company of this size.


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