A retirement love letter to the industry

by Bob Parisi

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!

14 Replies to “A RETIREMENT LOVE LETTER TO THE INDUSTRY”

  1. Dear Bob,
    This is such a surprise! Was truly great times while working for Dante Prini to see you in Burma Bibas; also I have learned
    so much from the great Klaus family! Wishing you all the best on your next journey in life!
    Ruth

    1. Hey Bob,
      Well said and well done, you are truly one of the talented and generous people who made th men’s market a credible place to be a part of.
      I wish you and your family health, great travels and peace.
      Warm Regards,
      Bert

    1. Nice memories Bob. How lucky we were to work in this business when it was really fun and business was plentiful. Enjoy the next phase.

  2. Bob,
    True class!
    Always a gentleman who had time to talk, teach and mentor!
    You will be missed and I have always thought of you as the 5th Klaus.
    Enjoy and be well.
    Russ Caputo

    1. What a wonderful career you had, Bob! We, at Gabbott in Hong Kong, were very fortunate to have had a long working relationship with you and the whole Klaus family.
      Wishing you and your family all the best !

  3. We wouldn’t forget all the enjoyable momories we had with you more than 30 yesar. Hope that you will enjoy your new life with your familay. Keep in touch.
    BK

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