Our aim in the following discussion is to explore the ways in which British fashion design is a site central to both the re-branding of Britain and to contestations about British identity. In particular we are interested to understand how the apparently straightforward and economically driven process of the internationalisation of fashion is, in fact, a far more culturally nuanced and locally embedded encounter. Using the case of Paul Smith, Britain’s most successful and arguably most influential contemporary menswear designer, we shall explore how Smith’s evolving corporate strategy and international expansion have led to the export of a particular form of Britishness abroad, one that is progressive and yet at the same time deeply nostalgic, even parochial. In doing this, we shall explore the ways in which Smith has mobilised, and indeed shaped, emergent narratives about new forms of gendered consumption. More broadly, we are concerned here to understand the means by which Paul Smith negotiates the contentious and problematic discourses surrounding British fashion, which is at once seen as a deeply under-resourced and neglected industry, yet at the same time is being hailed as the country’s flagship industry, a vibrant and progressive cultural symbol capturing the creative spirit of Cool Britannia and helping to make London swing again. We begin, however, with an exploration of the current state and status of the British fashion industry.