Paul Smith: Still A Fashion Maverick After All These Years

by MR Magazine Staff

“Nobody cares how good you used to be,” said Paul Smith, the forward-thinking septuagenarian whose quirkily detailed tailoring has made him a perennial standard-bearer for English design. With annual sales of around 200 million pounds (or roughly $245.5 million), Mr. Smith is that rarity, an independent survivor in a business dominated by multinational conglomerates and a marketplace increasingly challenged by the effects of e-commerce and fast-fashion behemoths like Zara and H&M. Last year, Mr. Smith performed radical surgery on a label he founded in 1976 — in which he still has a 60 percent stake — eliminating a diffuse range of offerings and licenses to focus on just two yearly collections with designs for women and men. “I can do that because the Paul Smith label is owned by somebody called Paul Smith,” the designer said. This month, in addition to a runway show in Paris, Mr. Smith will also show his latest offerings at the influential men’s wear trade show Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy, where he is one of two specially invited guest designers. A self-taught polymath whose name appears on over 370 stores around the world, Mr. Smith spoke by telephone on subjects ranging from the perils of the high street to finding fashion cues in the frescoes of Fra Angelico. Read more at The New York Times.