London – Mark Worth, the digital media and fashion entrepreneur who founded WGSN and Stylus Media Group, has died at the age of 61.
Worth died of a heart attack, his family said. His funeral will take place on Tuesday.
A genius and rogue entrepreneur who quickly grasped the power of data, digital news and forecasting for creative industries, Worth began his career in apparel manufacturing.
Later he turned his attention to the fashion industry to gather trends and intelligence. In the year In 1997, with his older brother Julian, Worth founded the Global Style Network, WGSN, for fashion professionals seeking information, analysis and research on retail, product and style trends.
In the year In 2005, the Worth brothers sold WGSN to the now defunct Imap for £140 million. Today, WGSN is a division of Ascential, a data and e-commerce development company.
Five years later—after a failed attempt to retire—Worth founded Stiles, which tracks and analyzes business trends in a variety of industries, including fashion and beauty, electronics, home and industrial design, architecture and advertising.
Hearst would later take a 20 percent stake in Stylus Media Group.
Last year, Worth became executive chairman of Stylus after serving as CEO for more than a decade.
“His irrepressible presence and sense of humor will leave an indelible mark on our business and the industry for years to come,” said Victoria Rennie Worthen, CEO of Styles. Many of us at Styles have worked with Mark for decades and his loss is sorely missed.
Rennie added, “We will continue to work to grow and develop the business that Mark founded, as I know he would want us to do. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the entire Worth family at this very sad time.
In the year In 2007, Worth returned to the fashion scene by reviving the Ossie Clarke label, which had shown for a few seasons at London Fashion Week.
“I thought it would be a fun and exciting project,” Worth told WWD at the time. The main reason British designers fail today is simple – finance. I’ve been in the clothing business for 30 years, and thought this would be a great way to give something back to the British fashion industry.
Worth had an exclusive licensing agreement with Alfred Radley, who bought Clark’s business in the late 60s.
He said he was impressed by Radley’s “100 per cent meticulous” archive of 700 garments and wanted to revive it. Worth’s plan was to invest a “seven-figure sum” in the business.
Worth chose Avshalom Gur, who has worked for Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli, Khloé and Nicole Farhi, to lead the design team to continue Clarke’s creative legacy.
Worth wanted Clark’s business to be the first in its portfolio of brands. “My passion is to give back to the British fashion industry,” he said.
But it was not to be. In the year Worth closed the account following the 2008 recession, the deepest recession the UK has seen since World War II.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, described Worth as “a larger-than-life character and a great champion of London Fashion Week, who was passionate about supporting talent from students to entrepreneurs.” Through WGSN, he created a network and trend forecasting platform that inspires and empowers many people.
“He was one of the men’s kind and quiet and unsung heroes of the fashion industry,” said Daniel Marks, founder of Townhouse Consultancy Ltd., who knew Worth personally and professionally. He was a great listener, gave excellent advice, and was always ready to help and give his time. He was always happy to step in to support others in very difficult situations, not only with money, but also with an arm on the shoulder and the right words of comfort.
“He was a champion of fashion, a champion of Israel and a proud champion of his proud family. I had the privilege of working with him and calling him my friend,” Mark said.
Worth was born in Nottingham, England and had homes in England and Israel. In the year In 2011 he became Chair of UK Israel Business, a merger of the former British-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the British Chamber of Commerce in Israel.
He was also a trustee of the Tel Aviv Foundation and chairman of TLVinLDN. In the year Since 2013, he has served as chairman of the board of governors of Israel’s Shenkar College, investing in new businesses and mentoring young entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.
Charlotte Clarke, director of creative and events agency INCA Productions, has worked with Worth on large-scale London presentations to promote Israeli culture in London.
She said: “Mark was a visionary whose passion and faith drove him to achieve many things in life. His enthusiasm was intoxicating and his knowledge and insight amazing. But what shines most is his kindness. He always found time to chat, and this may have helped him develop an uncanny eye for spotting new talent. I will miss him as I know he will be the broadest team in INCA products.
Worth is the mother of his children, Patty, Max, Henry and Louis, with his wife Kelly and ex-wife Hilda. Worth’s other survivors include his brother, Julia; sister Erica, and grandchildren Eddie, Jack and Margot.