While going to F.I.T. in the 1970s (where I met my wife to be), I worked at Barney’s part-time. Barney Pressman was actually there, working a few hours a day folding jeans. What a great experience!
Fortunately, after graduation, I met with Samuel Klaus, founder of Burma Bibas, who hired me on the spot. He quickly became my mentor/teacher/father figure. I soon became a vice president and creative/design director.
The Chief, as I nicknamed him, had a wonderful eye for color as well as a penchant for art. He also had the most incredible collection of vintage silk fabrics dating back to 1926. I worked with Sam and his sons with the goal of building a better Burma Bibas label with stores like Nordstrom and Saks, as well as creating a sportswear and print shirt business for major department stores.
Understanding that the market was very womenswear-oriented, I knew we needed to develop our own print designs that were more male-friendly. Traveling the world when it was fun to travel, building relationships with our manufacturers throughout Europe and Asia, meeting major retailers in Asia to create programs—I was fortunate to have been in the industry at this exciting time. I remember talking with our retailers and manufacturers when Hong Kong was still under British rule, thinking that 1997 wasn’t going to change things! Wow, how things have changed.
To this day, I have friends from all over the world. How lucky, how blessed I have been!
I feel like I’ve just completed my first marathon: it was a great run, a fascinating time in a fascinating industry! (I often feel like I should turn my journal into a book.)
In my next phase, I hope to take a deep breath and enjoy my family and friends. My wife Laura, a Holistic food and health counselor with her company “Rooted Angel” and our daughter Nicola, a food photographer in San Francisco, are currently working on a Holistic cookbook. It has been a real source of inspiration for me so I hope to help them and maybe, in the future, use my expertise to develop other products in a holistic, sustainable way.
I am forever thankful to the Klaus family and all my friends in the industry for a terrific journey; now on to the next!