Norman Karr, a men’s wear icon whose humor and savvy made him an industry favorite, died Wednesday night at Franklin General Hospital in Valley Stream, N.Y., at the age of 82. The cause of death was pneumonia following surgery, according to his son, Arnold Karr, senior editor, financial at WWD.
Over the course of his 50-plus-year career, Karr served as executive director of the Men’s Fashion Association, Jeanswear Communications and the International Association of Clothing Designers. After a stint in the U.S. Army, Karr joined the Journal of Commerce covering the burlap and jute markets. He became editor of Driver’s Digest before joining the American Institute of Men’s and Boys’ Wear in 1955. He served as public relations director and general manager of the group before becoming executive director in 1966. AIMBW changed its name to the Men’s Fashion Association in 1969 and made its mark holding biannual press previews for the men’s wear industry. The MFA developed the American Image Awards in the Eighties and later changed its name to The Fashion Association. While at the MFA, Karr also helped found The Clothing Bank with New York to help clothe the homeless.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"