10 Things You Didn’t Know About Paul Smith


Paul Smith, the renowned British fashion designer, is a true icon in the fashion industry. With his signature colorful stripes and innovative designs, Smith has captivated audiences around the world. But beyond his successful career, there are many fascinating and lesser-known aspects of his life that make him an even more intriguing figure. In this article, we will uncover 10 things you didn’t know about Paul Smith.

1. Cycling Enthusiast

Did you know that Paul Smith is an avid cycling enthusiast? In fact, cycling has been a lifelong passion for him, and it even played a role in shaping his career. After a serious cycling accident at the age of 17, Smith spent months in the hospital and began sketching designs while recovering. This incident sparked his interest in fashion and ultimately led him to become the iconic designer we know today.

Smith’s love for cycling is evident in his designs as well. He has collaborated with renowned bicycle brands, such as Rapha and Mercian, to create exclusive cycling apparel and accessories. Smith’s passion for cycling not only adds a unique touch to his brand but also reflects his active and adventurous personality.

2. Humble Beginnings

Despite his immense success, Paul Smith had humble beginnings. Born in Nottingham, England, in 1946, Smith was raised in a small shop that sold fabrics and clothes. As a teenager, he aspired to become a professional racing cyclist, but a serious accident altered his path. However, this setback didn’t deter Smith, who went on to open his first store in Nottingham in 1970.

Smith’s roots in the working-class culture of Nottingham heavily influenced his design aesthetic. He frequently draws inspiration from everyday life, incorporating references to British heritage and his own personal experiences. Smith’s ability to blend his own humble background with high-end fashion has set him apart in the industry and continues to resonate with his fans worldwide.

3. The Multidisciplinary Designer

Paul Smith’s talents extend far beyond the realm of fashion. Not only is he a successful designer, but he has also delved into various creative pursuits throughout his career. Smith has designed everything from furniture and luggage to bicycles and even a car.

His fascination with different disciplines has allowed him to bring a fresh perspective to each project he undertakes. Smith’s multidisciplinary approach has garnered him widespread recognition and numerous awards. It also showcases his versatility and ability to think outside the box, ensuring his designs remain innovative and exciting year after year.

4. Photography Enthusiast

Many people are unaware of Paul Smith’s passion for photography. Photography serves as a source of inspiration for Smith, and he often captures everyday scenes and objects that catch his eye. He especially enjoys taking photographs during his travels, finding beauty in the ordinary and documenting the world through his unique perspective.

Smith’s interest in photography has also led him to collaborate with renowned photographers and artists. The discipline has influenced his approach to design and is evident in the attention to detail and composition seen throughout his collections. Smith’s love for photography adds yet another layer of creativity and depth to his artistic repertoire.

5. Love for Mini Cooper

An unexpected fact about Paul Smith is his affinity for the Mini Cooper. He has had a long-standing fascination with this iconic British car and has even collaborated with MINI on limited-edition models. Smith’s distinctive designs brought a touch of his eclectic style to the Mini Cooper, resulting in highly sought-after collector’s items.

Smith’s love for the Mini Cooper is rooted in his appreciation for British design and heritage. The collaboration between him and this iconic automobile brand perfectly marries fashion and automotive design, showcasing Smith’s ability to translate his unique vision into various creative mediums.

6. The Queen’s Tailor

One little-known fact about Paul Smith is that he was appointed as the tailor to Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. This prestigious role involved creating unique outfits for the Queen, which perfectly combined Smith’s contemporary designs with traditional royal style.

The appointment marked a significant milestone in Smith’s career, solidifying his status as one of the most esteemed fashion designers in the world. It also showcased his ability to seamlessly blend modernity with tradition, resulting in elegant and timeless creations that befitted the Queen’s stature.

7. Commitment to Sustainability

Paul Smith recognizes the importance of sustainability in the fashion industry and has made a firm commitment to ethical practices. His brand actively promotes sustainability and has implemented various initiatives to reduce its environmental impact.

One notable example is Smith’s dedication to using organic and environmentally friendly materials. His brand is committed to sourcing sustainable fabrics and incorporating eco-conscious practices throughout the production process. Additionally, Paul Smith supports various charitable organizations that focus on sustainability and environmental conservation, further exemplifying his commitment to a greener future.

8. Collaboration with Artists

Smith’s passion for art extends beyond his personal photography endeavors. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with numerous artists, blending the worlds of fashion and art seamlessly. These partnerships have resulted in unique and eye-catching collections that showcase the fusion of two distinct creative realms.

Smith’s collaborations with artists such as David Bowie, Richard Woods, and Julian Opie have brought a fresh perspective to his designs, pushing boundaries and challenging traditional notions of fashion. By incorporating art into his collections, Smith continues to blur the lines between fashion and other artistic disciplines.

9. Sir Paul Smith

Paul Smith’s contributions to the fashion industry and British design were officially recognized in 2000 when he received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. Smith was honored with a prestigious title, becoming Sir Paul Smith.

This recognition was a testament to Smith’s significant impact on the fashion world and his commitment to promoting British design and creativity. The knighthood elevated his status within the industry and further solidified his place as a true fashion icon.

10. Global Success

Paul Smith’s influence stretches far beyond the borders of his native England. His brand has achieved remarkable success globally, with over 300 stores worldwide. From Paris to Tokyo and New York to Shanghai, Paul Smith’s designs have captivated audiences around the globe.

Smith’s global success can be attributed to his ability to create designs that effortlessly blend international trends with a distinctly British sensibility. His brand’s expansion reflects the universal appeal and timeless nature of his collections, solidifying Paul Smith as a true global fashion powerhouse.

Paul Smith’s journey from a small shop in Nottingham to global recognition is nothing short of remarkable. His love for cycling, passion for photography, and affinity for collaboration have shaped him into the multifaceted designer we know today. From his commitment to sustainable practices to his ability to seamlessly blend fashion with art, Smith continues to push boundaries and leave an indelible mark on the fashion industry.

Whether you are a fashion enthusiast or simply intrigued by the life of an iconic designer, delving into these lesser-known aspects of Paul Smith’s life will undoubtedly deepen your appreciation for his work and his impact on the world of fashion.

Useful Links:
Paul Smith Official Website
Paul Smith on Instagram
Paul Smith’s Sustainability Initiatives