May 6, 2022: Footwear industry veteran Marvin Dickler died on May 2 at the age of 90, after a 60-year career in shoe retail and wholesale. According to his daughter, Arlene Dickler Starr, “Dad started in the industry owning a children’s shoe store in Woodbury, N.J., and then went on the road as a salesman for Jarman and Edith Henry. He later founded two wholesale companies: Rossi Shoe Co., which eventually went public, and Ennesi Shoe Co., which closed in 1992.”
Though he was semi-retired, Dickler later became a consultant for Aetrex Worldwide in the late 1990s. Aetrex CEO Larry Schwartz told FN, “We were much smaller then, and Marvin helped us break into some big accounts, like The Walking Company. One of the things he taught us was the social side of the business, and how to use trade shows like WSA to build relationships.”
Schwartz added, “He was one of the nicest guys and a class act. He always put a smile on your face.”
Starr, who got her start in the shoe industry in 1981 at Ennesi before moving over to Stuart Weitzman, recalled her father’s fondness for the business. “As my father told me when I was very young — the shoe business gets into your blood and it becomes a part of you. Since I also spent 40 years in the industry, I would say he was right,” she said.
March 6, 2022: Fashion journalism pioneer Elsa Klensch died on March 4, WWD reported. She was 92. Klensch was the host of the TV program “Style With Elsa Klensch,” which aired on CNN from 1980 to 2001 and was dedicated to fashion news, which included discussing trends in a way that was palatable for the mainstream. The WWD report stated Klensch’s career began in the 1660s and she had stints at publications including WWD, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
“Sad to hear of the passing of Elsa Klensch — a true pioneer who helped pave the way for fashion coverage on TV. RIP,” wrote “Beyond Style Matters’ podcast host Jeanne Beker on Twitter.
Jan. 6, 2022: Dennis Brown, founder of Northwest Podiatric Laboratory and Superfeet Worldwide, died on Dec. 31 at his home in Blaine, Washington, Superfeet confirmed. He was 96 years old.
A WWII veteran in the British Army, Brown entered the world of podiatry when he started Northwest Podiatric Laboratory in 1964, where he led the development of industry-leading patented orthotic products (he had 61 patents to his name) and casting techniques.
Recognizing the cost of podiatric orthotics were too expensive for most athletes, Brown and his partner Christopher Smith D.P.M., formed the Superfeet company to provide more affordable after-market insoles to the public. Superfeet pioneered the use of orthotics in the fledging ski boot industry, and eventually all other athletic footwear, including hockey skates. Brown also established and designed the Superfeet hydraulic tools which transformed the plastic ski boot fitting industry.
“From his time spent in the military during WWII to developing and launching Superfeet to the masses, Dennis’s legacy goes far beyond insoles,” Superfeet said in a statement. “Dennis was an incredible force for good who shaped the lives of countless people worldwide. He was a skilled craftsman, an inventor, an entrepreneur, a savvy businessman, a patient teacher, an inspirational mentor, and a loyal friend.”
Brown is survived by his wife of 35 years, Audrey.