22 (-) Sir Paul Smith £230m (-)
Fashion designer Sir Paul Smith has never forgotten his East Midlands roots. Despite having stores in New York, Johannesburg, Japan, Istanbul, Milan, St Petersburg and Red Square in Moscow, one his most recent ventures is to design the seating for the Broadway cinema in Nottingham.
His justification was to raise awareness of the creativity of the region, but also to stay grounded in the city where he opened his first boutique.
At the age of 16, with no career plans or qualifications, Smith was propelled by his father into a menial job at a local warehouse in his native Nottingham. Ambitions to become a racing cyclist were crushed following a bad accident and so, inspired by conversations with students at the local art college, he moved into the world of fashion.
After managing a boutique, he bought his modest savings into a shop. At the same time he took evening classes in tailoring and enlisted the help of his then girlfriend Pauline Denyer (now Lady Smith).
That was in 1970. Now, 38 years later Paul Smith, aged 60, is a global fashion icon. He has 12 different collections wholesaled in 35 countries around the world. He has 14 shops in England and a staggering 200 shops in Japan. Last year he opened his second shop in New York.
His Japanese licensee, Itochu, has bought a 40 per cent stake in the brand which has overall sales worldwide of more than £265 million. The business is valued at £300 million and Sir Paul has a stake worth more than £180 million.
He continues to play an active part in the company, being both designer and chairman. He also takes a detailed interest in the Japanese business, designing the clothes, choosing the fabrics and approving shop locations.