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Paul Smith to scale back the stripes

Paul Smith is to scale back the use of its iconic multistripe branding across its clothing and footwear collections.

According to stockists that have seen the company’s various autumn 11 collections, the premium lifestyle brand is significantly reducing the use of its coloured vertical stripes so they more commonly feature as trims or with an antiqued finish, rather than in full technicolour across an entire item.

The shift is being driven by Smith himself, who set up the eponymous brand in 1970, in a bid to preserve its long-term cachet. It is thought he wants to prevent the stripes eclipsing the brand, in the same way that checks did to Burberry or the FCUK logo did at French Connection in the 2000s.

The autumn 11 collections will still include stripes, but instead of being used all over a women’s shoe, for example, the shoe will feature a striped trim instead. Bags may still be fully striped, but Paul Smith will increase the use of an antiqued finish which dulls the colours.

Other garments will reference the multistripe by applying its colours to different graphics, but will not use the multistripe itself. “It is about using it in more subtle ways, so the stripe colours are part of the design but they work on a more sub-conscious level,” said a source close to the company.

The source described the move as a “major shift” that initially was being phased in gradually, but has been ramped up in recent months.

A spokeswoman added: “We are not turning our back on the multi-stripe. It is a very important part of our history. We are just taking a more considered approach to it. Stripes will still feature but they will be used in a different way.”

It is not known whether the new approach will apply to all Paul Smith sub-brands and categories.

Paul Smith has 70 stockists in the UK and 400 stockists worldwide and the brand is consistently cited as one of the top-performing brands in Drapers’ Indicator survey.

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