Anyone who’s ever been to Sir Paul Smith‘s studio at Covent Garden will know it’s filled with memorabilia, art, bike parts and music albums. The fashion designer has long demonstrated his love of music in interviews and most recently, working with Apple Music for a series of three playlists. The playlists cover a range of tunes and are entitled “Around the World in 20 Tracks”, “From Herbie to Holiday” and “Something Old, Something New…”
So when the brand wanted to showcase its clothing this season, we invited Singapore’s latest music sensation to come to our studio and try on some of Paul Smith’s threads. Fresh off a new album this summer, Gentle Bones a.k.a. Joel Tan has also just released a single ‘Shifting Over’, from one of the tracks on his latest EP, Geniuses & Thieves. Check out the video here. Tan tells us that ‘Shifting Over’ “is one of my favourite songs from the EP… everything from the melody to the lyrics spoke to me very strongly and it grew to be my favourite song after I first wrote it all the way till we completed the EP.” Tan broke new ground when he became the first Singaporean musician to be signed on by Universal Music, and he’s seen his fan base grow by leaps and bounds this year. He held his first concert at the Esplanade earlier this year, and it was a sell-out affair.
This season’s Paul Smith collection re-looks at his key design elements for the brand over the last 40 years. Since 2016 marks both his 70th birthday as well as the 40th anniversary of his first menswear show in Paris, it’s unsurprising that his signature stripes made a big appearance on a few outfits.
The brand, known for its eclectic style and sense of quirkiness that’s practically English, has always played up its interest in music and all sorts of memorabilia. The original Paul Smith store used to be a space where one could procure unique products, and the founder of the brand still occasionally offers interesting one-off products and various collaborative items in the store. Sir Paul Smith, along with Giorgio Armani, has often been credited with softening the silhouette of the suit in the ’80s, making it less formal.
Though Paul Smith is a veteran in the fashion industry, he remains a strong advocate of slow and steady business and product development, growing the business organically over years. Joel, 22, is at the start of his career, but he believes in the same ideas. “I’m not in a rush,” he comments. “I’m just promoting the songs that I have out now and figuring myself out creatively. The song is the best trampoline for an artist, so I’m just trying to constantly improve on creating better songs.”