by John Russel Jones

Fashion industry veteran Gary Kane has died. He is survived by his wife Valdene and sons Michael (Lisa), Russell (Kimiko Deguchi), and Jerome (Julie) Kane.

Former Cliftex executive Josh Weiss says, “Gary was a stern, demanding senior manager,  highly skilled in factory management which is why the owners of Cliftex (volume $120 million+, and that was 40 years ago) entrusted him with the ultimate responsibility of running the clothing plants.  He and I often were at odds, which is not unusual with sales and merchandising vs. production; however,  we got along extremely well and respected each other’s responsibilities.
“We used to joke all the time that I wanted assortments conducive to the various segments of the United States, spring and fall, a variety of models and fabrics.  He wanted all 1,800,000 units produced in navy blue in size 40 reg.  Fun aside, with a client base of the largest, most powerful clothing retailers in the country, Gary was able to do production somersaults when the pressure was on.  In the years when we were oversold and had to place allotments on our larger customers, Gary, somehow, smoothed the way so that all were content.
“He was a superlative manager and became a dear friend as we traveled the world together on behalf of Cliftex Corporation.
MR Fashion & Content Editor John Russel Jones had the pleasure of working for Gary at J.G. Hook back in the 1990s.
“I applied for a marketing director position, even though I knew I wasn’t qualified, but something must have intrigued him, because he offered me the job. He was tough, but fair. Like Josh, we had our moments, particularly when it came to aesthetics: He liked us to shoot the campaign images outside to give the brand an outdoorsy, nautical feeling, but then I’d hear “Why is there a tree in this picture? We don’t sell trees!” He was also a master negotiator, and would put together amazing deals with magazines and outdoor advertising venues, which, because of his careful placement selections, always made it look like we were spending a small fortune. I learned a lot from Gary, and every so often, when I’m working on an outdoor photo shoot, I still start eyeing up the trees.