NEW YORK — Robert Abajian, retired senior vice president and sportswear designer for Liz Claiborne, died Friday at his home here.
The cause of death was lung cancer, according to Ronald Marshall, a friend.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Vartan’s Armenian Cathedral, at 34th Street and Second Avenue here.
Abajian, 62, retired from Claiborne last May. He was in charge of design for the company’s $1.1 billion sportswear division, a role he assumed when designer Liz Claiborne retired as chairman of the company in 1989.
He also spent 11 years in the late Sixties and early Seventies as design director for Bobbie Brooks and later worked as design director/merchandiser for College Town/Panther from 1980 until 1983.
Abajian, who worked for 42 years in the fashion industry, first joined Liz Claiborne in 1984 as design director and, after a period away from the firm, rejoined it in 1987 as vice president of LizSport.
Jerome A. Chazen, chairman and chief executive officer of Liz Claiborne, said Abajian did “a remarkable job” working with young designers and was instrumental in establishing a design studio at Claiborne that helped many young designers begin their careers.
“He was always a patient teacher,” Chazen said. “He was a consummate professional.”
Abajian was a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, where, until recently, he also taught classes.
Surviving is a brother, Anthony.