The Nottingham-born fashion designer legendary for his menswear is also famously a bike fanatic who gets to rub shoulders with all the top cycling stars. Perhaps not surprisingly Paul Smith also has a priceless collection of jerseys.
The website Obsessionistas is devoted to the sometimes quirky collections of the obsessed with the aim "to uncover, share and celebrate a wide range of remarkable collections, along with the personal collecting stories behind them". It has just launched a feature on the fashion designer Paul Smith and the stash of cycling jerseys that he's gathered over the years.
Many of the jerseys in the collection are gifts presented to Smith by riders and friends, who include some of the top names in what Paul Sherwen would call "the sport of professional cycling". Amongst the highlights of the collection are the yellow and pink jerseys from the Giro d’Italia signed by the winner Alberto Contador and the green jersey won by British cyclist Mark Cavendish in the sprint competition in this year’s Tour de France. The collection also includes World Championship jerseys from Bradley Wiggins, Thor Hushovd, Chris Hoy and Nicole Cook.
Smith once hoped to become a professional cyclist himself but after suffering a serious cycling accident aged 17 pursued his career in fashion. He never lost his passion for cycling though and over the years the collection of cycling memorabilia has grown along with his fame as a designer. He's even designed bikes for Mercian.
According to husband and wife team Graham and Helen Powell behind the Obsessionistas site, “We are fascinated by how people’s individuality is often expressed through their obsessions with the things they single out as important enough to collect. Paul Smith is a collector we particularly admire and, as cycling fans ourselves, we were delighted when he agreed to give us an exclusive insight into his personal collection of cycling jerseys.”
See also the Obsessionistas feature on French cast metal cycling figurines collected by another Mr Smith, this one Mark who is a Senior Research Fellow in Sustainable Design at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design.