The footwear trade is mourning the loss of Tony Parkin, the former UK boss of Kickers who passed away last week.
Parkin, who died suddenly at his home, was single-handedly responsible for the Kickers boom in the 1990s, when the brand dominated young fashion footwear sales, making significant cash for footwear retailers at the time.
“He was a unique character who did things his way. He was passionate about shoes. The industry will miss one of its great personalities.”
Andy Rubin, chief executive, Pentland Brands
He left the Pentland Brands-owned footwear label in 2007 and set up a consultancy. Most recently he worked on creating footwear for streetwear brand Fenchurch and consulting for Levi’s and Supremebeing, and was planning to launch his own label called Nth.
Andy Rubin, chief executive of Pentland Brands, said: “Tony Parkin worked for Pentland for 20 years. He started when the Kickers brand in the UK was a single shoe and he built the brand into what it is today. He was a unique character who did things his way. He was passionate about shoes. The industry will miss one of its great personalities.”
Schuh managing director Colin Temple said: “Kickers changed the way Schuh did business in 1990. Tony really set Schuh off on a branded journey. We had a great affection and a lot of respect for Tony.
Debenhams senior men’s footwear buyer Brian Hartley, who first met Parkin in the late 1980s, said: “He was a phenomenal product man, which is why Kickers was so good for so long. He was fiercely protective of where the brand went and every year for nearly 15 years he came out with new soles and lasts that everyone wanted to copy.”
Barratts Priceless chief executive Michael Ziff worked with Parkin for 20 years. He said: “Tony was one of the true honest people of the trade. He was very hard working and was truly knowledgeable about product. He was a flexible and understanding merchant.”
Peter Tainton who bought Kickers from Parkin during his time at River Island added: “He was a larger than life characters and a very kind man. He achieved so much Ina short space of time and was incredibly talented. He built one of the UK’s biggest footwear brands in Kickers and maintained it for a long time. His new project in Fenchurch had shown some growth spurts and he had so much to give to the industry.”
Parkin had two children. Hartley added: “He was an immensely proud father and that is what he would want to be remembered for.”
Tony Parkin’s funeral takes place today.
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