Sir Paul Smith may be 70 this year but the distinguished British designer still has his finger on the pulse of the fashion industry. Forty-six years after setting up his first store at 10 Byard Lane in Nottingham, he has built a global business empire out of various diffusion lines that included watches and fragrances, only to collapse all of them into just two lines this year: Paul Smith, and the new, more contemporary, PS by Paul Smith.
The shake-up announced in February this year, which also saw the reorganisation of design teams, was his response to global retail revolution. His offerings may be trimmed down to two lines but the range is nonetheless extensive — each offers apparel, shoes and accessories for both men and women.
PS by Paul Smith launched recently in Autumn/Winter 2016, with a collection that focuses on denim, offering a myriad of washes and fits. Outerwear is another highlight, pivoting on functionality and utilitarian shapes.
Characterised by a brand new logo designed by London-based cult designer Fergus Purcell, the label conveys a brand new attitude for the British stalwart, aptly portrayed here by rising star Joel Tan. Better known as Gentle Bones, the 22-year-old musican is also making bold changes with his new single featuring an electronica-infused deviation from the folk-pop he’s known for. “The single that’s out this month is a song from the EP (Geniuses & Thieves) that I put out in June. It’s called “Shifting Over” and it’s actually one of my favourite songs from the EP,” he shares during the shoot where he tries on the new PS by Paul Smith threads. “I’ve done acoustic music before so I didn’t know how difficult it would be to navigate the electronic soundscape. It’s so vast,” he reveals.
“Electronic music is more challenging, but there are different messages you can send across with different genres of music. I think with acoustic music, you’re there for the music and and the feeling and ideas that they are trying to translate. With electronic music, it’s about the beat and how it’s trying to create a different sound,” he opines.
As the first Singaporean Universal Music signed on, he recently found himself nominated for Best South East Asia Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs), after making it to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list, clinching two prizes at Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (Compass) Awards, and performing for a 30,000-strong audience at 2016 Asia Song Festival in South Korea, all accomplished within this year.
He feels it’s great that fashion brands are supporting music. “There are so many genres of music and musicians out there, and the musical world and the rest of the world is starting to see that the walls between genres are breaking down. So collaborations between any industry or group are the best thing that can happen.”
PS by Paul Smith is available at Paul Smith, #01-08 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road.
PHOTOGRAPHY SIMON SIM
FASHION STYLING CHIA WEI CHOONG
GROOMING WEE MING USING SHU UEMURA AND SHU UEMURA ART OF HAIR
FASHION ASSISTANCE ASRI JASMAN
This article is brought to you by Paul Smith.