Paul Smith (fashion designer)

Sir Paul Brierley Smith CH CBE RDI (born 5 July 1946) is a British fashion designer. His reputation is founded on his designs for men's clothing, but his business has expanded into other areas as well.[1] Smith was made a Royal Designer for Industry in 1991.[2]

Paul Smith

Paul Smith, cropped.jpg
Smith in 2009
Paul Brierley Smith

(1946-07-05) 5 July 1946 (age 76)
Pauline Denyer
(m. 2000)
Label(s)Paul Smith
PS Paul Smith

His eponymous fashion company was founded in 1970 and has expanded into over 70 countries, selling its products via standalone stores, departments in high-end stores or malls, along with airport terminals, as well as the e-commerce section of its international website. Some of his brand's stores are recognized for their uniqueness and eccentricity, including the much-photographed vibrant, fluorescent pink flagship store in Los Angeles.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Paul Smith shop on King Edward Street, Leeds
2007 Paul Smith suit, merino wool with pink windowpane check
Paul Smith shirt showing the company's signature striped pattern
Mini by Paul Smith, 1997
Interview with Paul Smith about the exhibition 'Hello, My name is Paul Smith'
Maggie's Centre Nottingham, designed by Piers Gough. Smith helped design the interior.
Paul Smith Boutique, Las Vegas

Smith was born in 1946 in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, England, the son of Harold Smith, and is the youngest of three children.[4] One of his early ambitions was to become a professional cyclist.[5] He left school at the age of 15 to work in a Nottingham clothing warehouse, while practising cycling outside of work hours. He cycled to and from work until the age of 17, when he was in a major cycling accident that put him in hospital for close to six months. During his recovery, friends inspired him to enter the world of art and fashion.[6] Smith has regularly referenced cycling in his work over the years. He started to take classes in tailoring and eventually began working with a Savile Row tailor, Lincroft Kilgour.[7]


Smith opened his own shop called Paul Smith Vêtements Pour Homme[8] in Nottingham in 1970, which sold established clothing labels, alongside pieces that Smith had designed. The store was just 3 square metres and was located at 6 Byard Lane in Nottingham.

In 1976, Smith travelled to Paris to showcase his first men's collection, which featured a mix of casual and semi-formal wear. After that the Paul Smith brand continued to grow and he opened his flagship London store in 1979 on Floral Street in Covent Garden, London.[9]

'Paul Smith Women', his first womenswear collection, was launched in 1993, after reports of women coming into his stores buying smaller sizes to wear themselves.[10]

The first Japan store opened in Tokyo in 1984, growing over the years to 165 stores across the country.[11]

Smith opened his first shop in New York on Fifth Avenue in 1987. The company now has four shops in the state, the flagship on Greene Street as well as Williamsburg, Bleecker Street and Brookfield Place.[12]

In 1993, Smith took over 'workwear' clothing company R. Newbold[6] (established in 1885) and incorporated many of their designs into his new collection.

His childrenswear collection started in 1990 with the launch of a one-off collection for boys, including casual and tailored pieces.[13] In 2010, Smith launched 'Paul Smith Junior' as a seasonal collection which often included remakes of his adult collections.[14]

In 1995, the Design Museum exhibited 'True Brit', a show marking 25 years of his business. The show then went on to Glasgow for the 'Festival of Design' and then moved to his hometown of Nottingham and was put on display in Nottingham Castle.[15]

Smith published his first book, You Can Find Inspiration in Everything, in 2001.

The brand launched its e-commerce site in 2004.[16]

In 2013, Smith designed and made a school tie for Beeston Fields Primary School in Nottingham.[17]

In 2016, Smith's second book, Paul Smith's Cycling Scrapbook, was released: it documents a personal history of the sport he is very passionate about.[18]

In January 2016, Smith combined his men's and women's fashion shows, showcasing during Paris Fashion Week.[19]

In 2019, Smith made a cameo appearance in the film Men in Black: International; he also designed the suits in the film.[20]

His company remains independent, the majority owned by Smith.


Smith has won numerous awards over the years, including:

Smith was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1994 New Year Honours for services to fashion.[27] He was knighted in the 2000 Birthday Honours[28] and appointed Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to fashion.[29]

Partnerships and other business pursuitsEdit

Smith has been involved in multiple collaborations and partnerships over the years, including:


Smith designed a Mini that was produced in a limited edition of 1,800 cars.[30][31]


Smith worked with Italian furniture designer Cappellini to create a small homeware collection.[32]


Smith's first collaboration with Maharam, the US textile brand, originally used in one of his suit designs; the two continue to work together on new ranges.[33]


Smith teamed up with motorbike manufacturer Triumph, restyling the Bonneville T100 bike.[34]

Smith redesigned the Lasonic i931 boombox, giving it a white look with Smith's trademark multicolour look.[35]

For the 60th anniversary of Penguin Classics, Paul Smith was asked to choose and redesign one cover: he chose Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence.[36]


Smith and Mercian Cycles collaborated on a series of bicycles.[37]

Smith designed the chairs in screen 4 at Broadway Cinema, Nottingham.[38]


Smith began working with the UK-based boutique cycle clothing retailer, Rapha.[39] Smith designed a range of cycle clothing in association with Rapha, including a jersey to celebrate the rare start of the Tour de France in London.[40]


Smith was the third designer, following Jean-Paul Gaultier, to redesign a bottle for Evian water.[41]

Paul Smith provided suits for the Manchester United team.[42]


Smith worked with Burton Snowboards, including adding his signature stripe to boards and apparel.[43]


Smith designed four limited edition prints to mark the release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.[44]


Smith joined Leica to design a limited edition Leica X2 camera.[45]

Curated by the Isle of Man Post Office, Smith designed a set of stamps to mark the launch of the London Olympics.[46]

Smith joined boot-maker John Lobb to create a series of Oxford, derby and loafers.[47]


Smith was the official designer of the T-shirt for the David Bowie album 'The Next Day'.[48]

Smith designed the leaders' jersey for Giro d'Italia including the Maglia Rosa.[49]


Smith started a collaboration with Anglepoise, reimagining their Type 75 lamp[50] as Edition One; he has since gone on to creating multiple editions.[51]


Smith designed a series of T-shirts in collaboration with the release of David Bowie's final album ★ (Blackstar).[52]

Smith worked with Kask for the first time to design their 'Protone' aero helmet.[53] In 2018 a second helmet was released.

The first collaboration between Paul Smith & Caran d'Ache launched 10 colours of their '849' pen. They went on to work together again in 2016.[54]


Collaborated with the wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd on a limited edition range of bottles.[55]

Smith collaborated with Land Rover to design a bespoke Defender.[56]

Smith designed a new version of the cactus-shaped coat stand by Italian furniture designers Gufram.[57]

Edition Three of the Paul Smith & Anglepoise Collaboration was launched.[58]

The second collaboration with Caran d'Ache was launched, adding 8 new colours to the collection.[59]


For the 120th anniversary of Globe-Trotter, Smith collaborated with the company by redesigning their 20" trolley case; it was first showcased at the Salone del Mobile.[60]

Celebrating 30 years of New Balance's 576 sneaker (trainer), Smith redesigned with his iconic stripe design, along with a series of footballs and football boot.[61]

In tribute to his close friend Tony Gross, the company collaborated with Cutler & Gross on a limited edition collection of eyewear for his spring/summer 2019 show in Paris.[62]

Smith worked with James Turner of Sports Purpose to cover a 1965 Porsche 911 with multicoloured stripes, which went on to compete at Le Mans Classic and Goodwood Festival of Speed.[63][excessive citations]


Smith designed a Mini Electric using sustainable principles, with recycled and natural materials, for example cork.[64] Smith's Mini Strip was designed to break "the unwritten law that even small cars have to be shiny, polished luxury products."[65]


  1. ^ "Paul Smith : Fashion Designer (1946–)". Design Museum.
  2. ^ Smith, Paul (1991). "RDi".[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Paul Smith's famous pink wall where selfies are taken was vandalized with graffiti". Daily News. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Paul Smith".
  5. ^ "Paul Smith: A lifelong love of cycling - Cycling Weekly". Cycling Weekly. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  6. ^ a b Sowray, Bibby. "Paul Smith". Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Paul Smith is One of the 500 People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2018". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  8. ^ Burns, Eugene (November 2016). "Paul Smith and the power of a simple brand story". Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  9. ^ Bannerman, Sarah Leigh. "A Brief History of Paul Smith: Covent Garden's Most Famous Designer". Culture Trip. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  10. ^ "The very height of fashion: Profile: Paul Smith". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  11. ^ Mowbray, Nicole (3 June 2006). "Paul Smith, man of the cloth". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  12. ^ Palmieri, Jean E. (11 January 2016). "Paul Smith Relocates to Temporary Site in Manhattan". WWD. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Iconic Stripes: The History of Paul Smith". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  14. ^ Sowray, Bibby. "Kids Club". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  15. ^ Jeeves (23 May 2013). ""Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club: Paul Smith ..." "Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Designer Paul Smith launches debut e-commerce site". Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  17. ^ Smith, Paul (2013). "Paul Smith designs special Beeston Fields school tie". BBC News.
  18. ^ "Paul Smith Releases His Cycling Scrapbook - 10 Magazine10 Magazine". 23 May 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Paul Smith to combine men's and women's shows". Drapers. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Paul Smith for Men in Black:International". Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  21. ^ Council, Nottingham City. "Honorary Freemen of Nottingham". Nottingham City Council. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  22. ^ Sowray, Bibby. "Paul Smith". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  23. ^ Milligan, Lauren. "Seasoned Travellers". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Sir Paul Smith to receive Outstanding Achievement Award at 2011 British Fashion Awards – Lucire". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  25. ^ "Honorary Fellowships | BIID". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  26. ^ "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015". GQ. 5 January 2015.
  27. ^ O'Connor, Tamison (July 2016). "Paul Smith: Life in Pictures". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  28. ^ "Paul Smith: Just a regular knight". The Guardian. 3 July 2000. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  29. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B6.
  30. ^ "662 Rover Mini (Paul Smith) (1996)". 19 June 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  31. ^ "1998 Mini 1300 is listed Verkauft on ClassicDigest in Surrey by DD Classics for Preis nicht verfügbar". Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  32. ^ Vogue. "PAUL SMITH AT HOME". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Maharam and Paul Smith Celebrate Their 15 Year Anniversary with a New Print | Architectural Digest". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Paul Smith Triumph Bonneville - webBikeWorld". Web Bike World. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  35. ^ "Paul Smith x LASONiC i931". Trend Hunter. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  36. ^ "Five leading designers on how they re-covered their favourite Penguins". The Guardian. 28 October 2006. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  37. ^ "Paul Smith shops to sell bikes". BikeBiz. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  38. ^ "Broadway - Cinema | Cafebar | Nottingham - Our History". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  39. ^ "Better than Yellow". Bicycling. Rodale, Inc.: 38 August 2007. ISSN 0006-2073. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  40. ^ Gay, Jason (1 April 2009). "In These Clothes, You Can Go Far". New York Times.
  41. ^ "paul smith evian water bottle". designboom | architecture & design magazine. 30 September 2009. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  42. ^ Millar, Jamie (27 May 2011). "Paul Smith kits out Manchester United". GQ (UK). Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  43. ^ "PAUL SMITH x BURTON SNOWBOARDS". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  44. ^ "Paul Smith: Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy". It's Nice That. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  45. ^ "Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith pictures and hands-on - Pocket-lint". Pocket-lint. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  46. ^ Milligan, Lauren. "Olympic Smith". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  47. ^ "The Paul Smith x John Lobb collaboration in pictures". globalblue. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  48. ^ Magazine, Wallpaper* (1 March 2013). "Paul Smith designs the official T-Shirt for David Bowie's new album". Wallpaper*. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  49. ^ "Giro d'Italia unveils 2013 leaders' jerseys |". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  50. ^ "Paul Smith tints Anglepoise desk lamp with clashing colours". Dezeen. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  51. ^ "Anglepoise + Paul Smith". Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  52. ^ Ferrier, Morwenna (8 January 2016). "Paul Smith x David Bowie T-shirt – buy of the day". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  53. ^ "Paul Smith collaborates with Kask to create special Protone helmets". 29 September 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  54. ^ "849 PAUL SMITH Slate Grey ballpoint pen - limited edition - £35.00". Brand. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  55. ^ "BBR collaborates with fashion icon". 7 January 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  56. ^ "Bespoke Paul Smith Defender - News - Land Rover UK". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  57. ^ "Paul Smith applies psychedelic colours to cactus coat stand". Dezeen. 5 April 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  58. ^ "Anglepoise + Paul Smith Collection". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  59. ^ "Paul Smith 849, Edition Two | Caran d'Ache of Switzerland". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  60. ^ "Paul Smith and Globe-Trotter define great British design". Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  61. ^ "New Balance Celebrates 30 Years of the 576 With Paul Smith Collaboration". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  62. ^ Ma, Fiona (23 May 2018). "Paul Smith Collaborates on Eyewear Collection With Cutler and Gross". WWD. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
  63. ^
  64. ^ Uli Baumann (12 August 2021). "Künstlerischer nachhaltiger Rückbau".
  65. ^ "Making of MINI Strip | Behind the Scenes with Paul Smith | MINI UK". Retrieved 8 July 2022.

External linksEdit