Paul Smith

Biography of Paul Smith

Paul Smith never dreamed as a child of being a fashion designer or artist, his first love was cycling and had it not been for a terrible accident aged 17, he might never have become one of the most celebrated figures in men’s fashion. “I’ve never analyzed my motivations,” he once said, “or had five-year plans. I’m just someone who's got on with it.”

 

Born in 1946 in Nottingham, Paul Smith left school at 15 to work in a clothing factory to earn money. In fact it was while cycling to the factory that he had his accident. While recovering in hospital he got to know local students from the art college who introduced him to the world of ideas, creativity and fashion.

 

Paul Smith’s clothes are renowned for their sumptuous tailoring, and for having what he calls “classics with a twist”—traditional British style with their own unique take. He first opened a tiny shop in 1970 with his then girlfriend and now wife Pauline Denyer. After taking evening classes in tailoring, he was ready in 1976 to take his first menswear collection to Paris. He now has around 300 shops worldwide.

 

Paul Smith has been the focus of two exhibitions at the Design Museum in London in 1995 and in 2013. In 2000 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his services to British fashion. In 2007 he was awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects for his outstanding contribution to art, design, and architecture. Highly-versatile he has also turned his hand at limited edition multiples.

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