A Brit Grows in Brooklyn: Paul Smith Opens This Month

Smith will be the first major designer to set up an outpost in Williamsburg.

With his slightly left-of-center style, Paul Smith will be right at home in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., when the British designer’s new store bows there later this month.

This story first appeared in the October 1, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Smith plans to open a freestanding store, the first of its kind in the U.S. that will sell only marked-down items, at 280 Grand Street between Roebling and Havemeyer Streets. The 900-square-foot space will open Oct. 16.

In doing so, Smith will be the first major designer to set up an outpost in the hipster-laden neighborhood known for its indie spirit, offbeat boutiques and vintage stores. The “fresh” retail neighborhood appealed to the company, a Paul Smith spokesman said Tuesday. It is also only one subway stop outside of Manhattan.

The shop will offer a revolving selection of Paul Smith items including men’s and women’s suits, shirts, dresses, jackets, accessories and shoes. Styles will be priced 30 percent below regular retail prices, but the company spokesman insisted the store isn’t an outlet store.

Paul Smith, which is sold in 35 countries, has similar “sales shops” outside of Paris, in London and three others in the U.K. The designer’s new Williamsburg store also will sell a few unexpected items such as books.

Wendy Mullin of Built by Wendy was among the first young American designers to set up a store in the neighborhood several years ago. Jumelle and Catbird, two stores that sell a variety of labels, have developed followings. Christopher Crawford and Angela Deane, the design team behind the Christopher Deane label, opened a freestanding store at 344 Grand Street last month.

Perhaps borrowing a page from the locals, who tend to refute any trace of traditional marketing, Smith isn’t planning any blowouts for the opening, preferring to spread the news via word of mouth.