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Obituary: Peter Tainton

“In a world of name-dropping and air-kissing, Peter was a breath of fresh air.” Colleague and friend Matt Damsell reflects on Tainton’s contribution to the industry.

Peter will be remembered by many for his illustrious career in the footwear industry, spanning over 24 years, where he became a recognised force in the development of standalone footwear retailing within high street multiples, working within the dynamic business at River Island Clothing Company, and driving sales to unrecognised levels within his field.

In the world of fashion retail, where name-dropping and air- kissing go hand-in-hand with production issues and mark-down, Peter was a breath of fresh air to work alongside, often holding court on stand at a trade show, and leaving the scene without the foggiest idea who he was speaking to, whilst remaining focused on the job in hand. His steady and down-to-earth manner, straight talking charm, business acumen, and old-school methods of espionage served him and those around him well. It was with humility and recognition of the support of his family and colleagues past and present that he accepted and was honoured with the Drapers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 for services to the UK Footwear sector.

After a short illness in 2007 Peter retired to spend time with his real love, his family, and recuperated by tending to his farm in Reading, mucking out his pigs and chickens and tending to his impressive vegetable patches . When not knee deep in mud, Peter enjoyed the fruits of his labour, travelling across continent with his family to experience the world outside of retail, living life to the fullest, then happily returning to his family home - in particular his favourite spot at the far end of his garden, where he would situate his chair by the bank of the river that wrapped around his garden, watch the passing wildlife, whilst settling down for the afternoon with a cold beer and the tranquillity in which to savour his latest crime novel. 

In recent years Peter’s distinguishable figure remained discreetly present within the industry, following a keen but calm interest in the market and continuing to nurture relationships that he had built up over many years. Experience and a hungry eye allowed him to continue developing commercial product and range building on a consultancy basis for international factories that needed assistance in maintaining a commercial foothold within the UK and European markets.

To those who knew Peter well, behind the canny façade there was until the end a simple, loving and humble man who often commented that it was the continual support of his loving wife that allowed him to manage a successful career, manage his self-appointed shortcomings, and share the pride that he felt for his two grown sons, whom were both gaining successful recognition within their own fields.

Peter was still a young man upon his passing and will be truly missed by his friends in the trade. He was a big man in all senses of the word.

Many thanks to the staff  whom supported Peter and his family during his long and illustrious life and career.  

Readers' comments (2)

  • "If you don't sell em to me I'll knock you off!" Classic Peter

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  • A beautifully written piece.

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