Paul Smith’s optimistic fashion

ICONINSIDER — Sir Paul Smith’s latest womenswear collection is “optimistic”.
The 70-year-old designer wants to create garments that make people feel happy, so his newest creations feature sportswear with bold prints and bright colours.
He said: “It’s got that masculinity in terms of the fabric but the femininity of the optimistic print. Sportswear is so important now. People are feeling happy wearing tracksuit bottoms and a blazer. That’s where it is at the moment…
“At the beginning of my career, I used to buy van-loads of vintage Hawaiian shirts from America and sell them to kids from Sheffield and Manchester, so I was thinking about that. We’re quite famous for our print now. We have about 20 in-house designers for print alone. And then we’ve got all the optimistic colour too.”
In recent seasons, Paul has been showing his men’s and women’s collections together, and thinks the collaboration has made his female creations even more feminine.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: “What’s interesting is that previously the women’s had a strong masculine feel to it.
“And it still has that sense with suits and tailoring, but now I’m adding more dresses and feminine pieces so that the two stand out from each other.”
Paul feels “blessed” that he has never sold his label out to a bigger company and has no shareholders to answer to because, not only does it put him in a strong position in the current climate, he also feels he has been able to keep things “grounded” as he’s always been so hands-on.
He said: “As a company, I’m blessed with being independent. I’m still the boss, we own most of our buildings, we’re very odd in that we’ve got no borrowings.
“And we don’t have greedy shareholders asking for more, more, more…
“Because I started the business myself at some point I’ve done everything – packed the boxes, sold the collection, done the window dressing, driven the van and put on the shows with just me and my wife hemming all the trousers.
“When you’ve had that more rounded experience it helps you know your business and it keeps you down to earth.”

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