I was a dreamer, with a degree in education (French major, philosophy minor), some retail experience (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s. May Company), some writing experience (Clothes magazine, Retail Week, Accessories), and lots of enthusiasm. I had great mentors–Mac Alberg, Lewis Kaplan, Clara Hancox–and with the unwavering support of Mac Brighton and Britton Jones at Business Journals, Stu Nifoussi and I jumped head first into the menswear business in 1990, launching a trade magazine to “inspire, educate and entertain” retailers and suppliers in the men’s schmatta trade.
And what a 30-year ride it’s been! I know how lucky I’ve been to have traveled to wonderful places around the globe—attending trade shows, visiting factories and stores, meeting amazing people—from tailors to sellers to CEOs, continuing to learn and grow and dream, even after three decades!
Perusing past issues of MR for this anniversary tribute, I marvel at our first-ever cover (March 1990): the elegant sartorial clothing on the handsome model somehow still works 30 years later! I’m saddened by how many wonderful people I’ve interviewed are no longer around: Cliff Grodd, Bernard Lansky, Audrey Talbott, Mel Goldfeder, Larry Hymes, Mervyn Mandelbaum, Gene Hiller, Marvin Traub, Geoffrey Beene, John Malouf, Freddie Stollmack, Greg Eveloff, James Benton, Sid Shapiro, Stanley Marcus, Spencer Hays, Miller Harris, Derryl Osborn, Jimmy Edelman, Kevin Morrissey, Dick Braeger, to name just a few. I know I’ll continue to cherish all that I learned from them.
I smile at some of my favorite quotes from 30 years of interviews. Who else but Gary Kellman, then VP at Lord & Taylor, would say, “Matrix buying is terrific: it eliminates the need to think which opens up lots of time for other things…” From Geoffrey Beene: “The only thing worse than a designer trying to dictate what a woman should wear would be a woman deciding for herself. And it’s even more disastrous for men!” Marshall Lester, then with Diesel, declared with confidence, “There are three motivational factors when it comes to buying jeans: sex, sex, and sex!” And from Spencer Hays, the ex-Bible salesman who founded Tom James, “If you want to make yourself really miserable, just think about the respect you deserve that you’re not getting!”
I marvel at how much has changed in 30 years (technology!), but how much hasn’t (the value of relationships). I remain eternally grateful for the talented colleagues I’ve worked with on MR over the years, many who still freelance for us. Most of all, I thank the wonderful companies that have supported this magazine over the decades, so many of whom have become true friends. The tragedy of losing my daughter six years ago was greatly mitigated by the outpouring of love I felt from so many of you. I will never forget it.
In this anniversary issue of MR, we try to capture some of the people, products, and passion of the past 30 years. We hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane and hope we can continue to educate, entertain and inspire you for at least the next three decades, (at which point I’ll be 100 years old; I told you I was a dreamer!)