Paul Smith, born on 5th July 1946, is an English entrepreneur and fashion designer. His reputation and business is founded upon his couture line for men. Smith is commercially successful and is highly acknowledged and respected within the fashion industry. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Smith after being a menswear idol for thirty years. Accessories and apparel designed by him are recognized through his signature of multiple stripes on every item.
When Smith was fourteen, he quit school to join the Beeston Road Club in hope to fulfill his dream of becoming a cyclist. However, his father dragged him to work at a garment warehouse. During the first two years, Smith had no interest in his work other than just to cycle to fill the distance between his home and the factory. One day he met a dreadful accident on the way, and since then he ended his ambitions to become a cyclist. This is when Smith’s fashion designing career started; he began taking more interest in his job and enjoyed it so much that he forgot about his old love. Smith soon realized that he wanted to be involved in the world of colors, ideas, fashion and excitement.
Consequently, Smith began taking tailoring classes in the evening in Nottinghamshire under Gordon Valentine Tipto who showed demonstrations to Smith on cloth cutting and taught him the basics of the subject. Later, Smith joined Savile Row after meeting Harold Tillman.
With the support of Pauline Denyer, his girlfriend, Smith opened his first store in 1970 with whatever money he had saved at the time. Six years later, Smith displayed his first line of menswear under the label Paul Smith in Paris. Gradually, Smith expanded his business of retailing and his brand became the first in the field to open a shop in 1979 on Floral Street, Convent Garden in London.
His business soon became known internationally and particularly in Japan where his designs gained much popularity. The first line of apparel for women was shown in 1998 at London Fashion Week. From 2007 onwards, Smith launched shops in Bangalore, Antwerp, Leeds, London, and Dubai.
Smith continues to remain completely involved in the operation of the business from designing apparel and choosing fabrics to deciding store locations and keeping a track of company’s developments. Paul Smith showrooms are in Paris, Tokyo, New York, Milan and London. In 2010, he opened his first fashion store for women in Mayfair. In the same year, Violette Editions published a monograph of him with the heading You Can Find Inspiration in Everything.
The success of his business relies heavily on his understanding of both designing and retailing. However, the designer states that the reason behind his success is his wife and she made it possible for Smith to be where he is. His wife is very special to him and this is understood from the many interviews he has given.
For the London Olympics, Smith worked in order to design the signs and posters. In 2009, he distributed clothes to the team of Manchester United.
Today, Smith owns twelve diverse collections including items like clothes, shoes, accessories, watches, fragrances, pens, furniture, and many other things such as china, rugs and more.