HOUSTON — Mickey Rosmarin, fashion maverick and founder of Tootsies, died Friday at age 63. Rosmarin’s career in retail spanned four decades and evolved from vintage clothing and accessories to high-end designer ready-to-wear.
The cause of death could not immediately be learned.
A native Houstonian, Rosmarin began his career out of a garage, selling recycled clothing. He expanded his vision to a brick-and-mortar store, Honest Threads, focusing on vintage pieces, a passion he carried throughout his life.
While cultivating a retail career, Rosmarin also developed social and business relationships that he nurtured throughout his life. Philanthropy was as important to Rosmarin as fashion, and he supported numerous organizations through financial gifts and events held at Tootsies.
Rosmarin opened the first Tootsies concept store on Westheimer in the Galleria area of Houston in 1975, setting the stage for the retail destination the store has become. Rosmarin introduce European lines to Houstonians, hand-picking items for customers. He moved Tootsies out of The Galleria and to Highland Village in 1985, setting the bar for luxury shopping in the city.
Leonard Matuszewski, model, fashion show producer and friend of Rosmarin, echoed the sentiments of the local fashion community, which was stunned by the news of his death.
“My history with Mickey was long, rich and very personal,” Matuszewski said. “He was one of my first clients in the early Eighties when I started modeling and we became friends in those years, a time in fashion which will never repeat itself.”
Rosmarin continued to push the envelope and expand his vision, moving Tootsies to a 35,000-square-foot space in the tony West Avenue development in 2011. The store is a popular destination for designer shows, charity functions and private events and carries a range of merchandise including European and American designer rtw, contemporary lines, shoes and accessories.
There are also Tootsies locations in Dallas and Atlanta.
Funeral arrangements are pending as family and friends remember Rosmarin’s legacy and what he meant to Houston.
“Mickey loved and sought out unique and masterfully created experiences for his customers and shows and events were a part of that magic he so brilliantly embraced,” Matuszewski said.