MR magazine is saddened to report the passing of legendary menswear designer Gianfranco Ruffini. He was adored and widely respected for both his talent and his kindness.
Industry veteran Joe Barrato knew him well. “I worked for him as president of Gianfranco Ruffini, a division of Cluett Peabody, in the early ’80s. Before that, his major contribution to the industry was as the creator of Nik Nik men’s printed shirts, the category that propelled the whole disco trend in the ’70s.
Ruffini was a true pioneer in our business, genuinely talented, an artist! Every shirt he produced was a work of art. I was privileged to work with him not just for his incredible design talent but also because he was special and kind. There are few people you meet in life with that kind of spirit. He impacted my career and my life in so many different ways.”
Fashion marketing and licensing consultant Donald Dolce recalls, “I first met Mr. Ruffini in the early 1980s when he was an important vendor in main floor designer sportswear collections. Much later, when I worked in licensing, his tailored clothing collection was one of the most successful in the industry. He was the consummate gentleman and always wonderful to work with.”
Ruffini’s son Patrick posted on Facebook: “Today is my first day waking up in a world without my Babbo. I already miss him so much. He was an amazing father, grandfather, husband, role model, and best friend (especially to Teddy). So much about me — the good parts anyway! — was shaped by him. We can’t be too sad though, because lived a full life doing exactly what he loved. He was a pioneer in the fashion business, co-founded a charity to educate children in India, and traveled the world. Gianfranco Ruffini was the best man I will ever know; I feel his presence today and every day.”