A brand, a day: today with Paul Smith

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On Friday, I went to Floral Street at Covent Garden to visit the main store of the iconic British fashion brand Paul Smith. This was in response to a request from my husband who despairs to find a vegan suit for his business meetings. Indeed, all vegan men aren’t 25 years old and don’t dress like hipsters. Some of them are around 40 years old and need to wear a suit at some point.

In the brochure, the Paul Smith new collection looked so gorgeous. I was very excited to go see it more closely. What a disappointment! I’m  sorry to tell you that none of the suits by Paul Smith are suitable for vegans. Most of them are made in wool. This was expected, it’s the case for all luxurious brands. But I was hoping that perhaps at least one suit would have been okay for my vegan beloved. The brand stocks a few suits 100% cotton or 100% linen but the clothing label mentions: “contains non-textile parts of animal origin”. Buttons? Finishing agents? No one in-store was able to answer my questions. After a quick check on their website, I guess it’s related to the buttons which are made in natural horn. But the bottom line is no cruelty-free suits in the Spring/Summer Paul Smith collection this year.

I faced the same problem with coats and bombers. The one I spotted was labelled 100% cotton with a zip instead of buttons. Unfortunately, my delight was short-lived. In this case the “non-textile parts of animal origin” was the leather strip for hanging the garment. In another case, it was a small leather trade label on a sleeve.

On the website, there are several coats and jackets which are labelled as linen and cotton but as they were not displayed in store, I can’t confirm whether they are suitable or not for vegans. And obviously, I would not take the risk and purchase on-line without a confirmation from customer service that the desired piece is animal cruelty-free.

Even the polo shirts aren’t suitable for vegans as they are finished with shell buttons. The same goes with the jeans which feature a leather brand label on the back. Cruelty to animals is all in the details!

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So, if you really want to buy something from Paul Smith, guys, the vegan stuff is on the fringe of the collection. You can go with the knitted socks made in soft cotton and nylon around £17, the netted scarves 100% cotton, a few cotton t-shirts (£115 for the independent mind) and sweaters (£195 for the blue one with ants). There are also the classic stretch-cotton twill trousers, in different colours, at £215, that my beloved already wears at weekends.

Dear Paul Smith, I know that you’ve already given up fur. This is a good first step towards compassion for animals, but when will you decide to go with a real vegan line?