Paul Smith: 'Men's fashion has too many designers'
Paul Smith believes the world of men’s fashion has become oversaturated due to the increasing number of brands.
The British designer has become famous for his tailored creations since he showcased his first ever collection in 1976, despite having no formal training in fashion. Forty years later Smith has been joined by countless new names in the business and with so many brands these days, he’s noticed big changes.
“I started doing men’s wear in the year the wheel was invented, and everything has changed absolutely massively since then,” he told the New York Times. “When I started out, there was a lot less selection of fabrics, a lot less awareness of fashion with everyday people. There was no fast-fashion and no e-commerce. We have gotten so many more men’s magazines since then, and so there is much more interest in things like personal grooming and men just generally thinking about how they look. Now you could argue that there’s saturation - too many products and too many designers.”
He points out that more and more labels are looking to break out into the menswear market and the overall amount of products has rapidly increased from when he first started out.
In order to stand out from the crowd the 70-year-old, who launched accessories and womenswear in 1993, takes to the runway only twice a year and remains true to the DNA of his company - especially the quirky touches which helped him become famous.
“I came up with the idea of a collared buttonhole or having each button a different colour, or putting a pattern in the lining. I was the first to use photo-print fabrics for linings,” he recalled.
“Essentially, for me it was about an easy-to-wear, non-instruction-book garment. A Paul Smith jacket looked like a jacket but had a sense of humour about it. When you reached for a pen or a handkerchief or glass of wine, you suddenly saw the lining was floral.”