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Paul Smith Makes Celebrities Pay

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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NO SELLOUT Smith In the March issue of BlackBook, British fashion icon Paul Smith explains what separates him from the majority of designers: He actually makes VIPS pay for his clothes. "We've been dressing musicians and celebrities for many years, but they always buy the clothes; we don't give clothes away. That's our policy. Not because of meanness, but because it sets the rule," Smith says, pointing out the obvious fact that, "They're wealthier than most of the other customers."

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Ignoring the unstated rule of celebrity graft seems to be working. Smith has successfully bottled British eccentricity for 30 years, proving you don't have to be a freshly scrubbed FIT grad with starlet friends to make an enduring commercial splash. To wit: Sales at his recently opened store in Manhattan's SoHo are reportedly 25 percent higher than the company had anticipated.

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