LONDON — Paul Smith has named his first creative director as part of a design studio refresh and a move by Smith to allow him more time to spend on creative and brand-related projects, WWD has learned.
This story first appeared in the March 18, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Smith, who remains a majority shareholder in the company he founded nearly 40 years ago, has named Simon Homes creative director. Homes has been with the company since 2004, and was previously head of men’s design, working closely with Smith over the years.
Homes will have creative responsibility for all men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories collections. His remit will extend to the company’s brand image in fashion shows, showrooms, shop design, the Web site, advertising, visual merchandising and display.
Smith said he will remain full time at the company, has no plans to retire, and the business will continue as usual. He said it’s about re-energizing the company rather than planning for the day he leaves.
“I’m not going anywhere. Simon’s appointment is about a new energy within the company, really. That’s the idea. We’re good mates, we get on. It’s an acknowledgement from me to say thank you for his hard work and good energy,” Smith told WWD.
Until now, Smith had been involved with the minutiae of the day-to-day business, overseeing divisions such as sunglasses and watches, doing garment fittings and approving yarn colors and strike offs of each season’s prints. He also shoots the brand’s ad campaigns, and does photography and creative projects for magazines and companies such as the home textile firm Maharam and bicycle apparel brand Rapha.
“Obviously, that’s a big time commitment. Basically, Simon’s appointment allows me to do lots of fun things — as well as my day job,” Smith said.
Earlier this month, Smith told WWD’s sister publication, M Collections, that he’s increasingly listening to, and working more closely with, young designers.
In addition to hiring and promoting younger guns, he’s recently reorganized the design studio so that the men’s and women’s teams are now sitting next to each other, sharing fabrics and working in parallel. “What you’re seeing is a new re-energized Paul Smith. It’s great. It’s really exciting,” he told M Collections.
Smith holds a 60 percent stake in the company with Itochu, his longtime Japanese licensee, holding the remaining 40 percent.