LONDON — Marc Worth, the digital media and fashion entrepreneur who founded WGSN and Stylus Media Group, has died at age 61.
According to his family, Worth died of a heart attack. His funeral will be held on Tuesday.
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A genius and shrewd entrepreneur who quickly grasped the power of data, digital news and forecasting for the creative industries, Worth began his career in apparel manufacturing.
He later devoted himself to trends and data collection for the fashion industry. In 1997, along with his older brother Julian, he launched the Worth Global Style Network, WGSN, for fashion professionals seeking data, analysis and research on retail, product and style trends.
In 2005 the Worth brothers sold WGSN to the now defunct Emap for £140 million. Today, WGSN is a division of Ascential, a data optimization and e-commerce company.
Five years later—after a failed attempt at retirement—Worth founded Stylus, a company that tracks and analyzes business trends in a variety of industries including fashion and beauty, electronics, home and industrial design, architecture and advertising.
Hearst would later take a 20 percent stake in Stylus Media Group.
Last year, Worth became executive chairman of Stylus after more than a decade as chief executive officer.
Victoria Rennie, CEO of Stylus, described Worth as “an indomitable presence whose passion and humor will leave an indelible mark on our business and industry for years to come.” Many of us at Stylus have worked with Marco for decades and his loss will be painful.”
Rennie added: “We will continue our work to develop and grow the business that Marc founded, as I know he would have wanted us to do. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with the entire Worth family at this very sad time.”
In 2007, Worth returned to the clothing arena, reviving the Ossie Clark label, which appeared at London Fashion Week for several seasons.
“I thought it would be a fun and exciting project,” Worth told WWD at the time. “The main reason British designers are failing today is simple — finance. I have been in the clothing business for 30 years and thought this would be an ideal way to give something back to the British fashion industry.”
Worth had an exclusive licensing agreement with Alfred Radley, the clothing manufacturer who bought Clark’s business in the late 60s.
He said he was impressed by Radley’s “100 per cent accurate” Ossie Clark archive, which includes 700 items of clothing, and wanted to take a chance on the revival. Worth’s plan was to invest a “seven-figure sum” in the business.
Worth chose Avshalom Gur, who has worked for Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli, Chloé and Nicole Farhi, to continue Clark’s creative legacy and lead the design team.
Worth wanted Clark’s business to be the first in the portfolio of brands. “My interest is to give back to the British fashion industry,” he said.
But it wasn’t like that. Worth closed the label in the wake of the 2008 recession, the biggest slowdown the UK has seen since World War II.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, described Worth as “a great character who was a huge supporter of London Fashion Week and passionate about supporting talent from students to entrepreneurs. Through WGSN, he created a network and trend forecasting platform that has inspired and empowered so many people.”
Daniel Marks, founder of Townhouse Consultancy Ltd., who knew Worth personally and professionally, said he was “the kindest man and one of the quiet, unsung heroes of the fashion industry. He was a great listener, gave extremely good advice, was always ready to help and give his time. In the most difficult circumstances for others, he was always happy to step in to support not only financially, but also with an arm around the shoulder and the right words of comfort.
“He was a champion of fashion, a champion of Israel and a proud champion of his family, of whom he was immensely proud. I was privileged to work with him and to call him my friend,” Marks said.
Worth was born in Nottingham, England, and had homes in England and Israel. In 2011, he became chairman of UK Israel Business, a merger of the former British-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the Israel-British Business Council.
He was also a trustee of the Tel Aviv Foundation and president of TLVinLDN. Since 2013, he has been the chairman of the Board of Directors of Israel’s Shenkar College, invested in new companies and mentored young entrepreneurs from various backgrounds.
Charlotte Clark, director of creative agency INCA Productions, has worked with Worth on major London presentations to promote Israeli culture in London.
She said: “Marc was a visionary whose passion and faith drove him to achieve so much in life. His enthusiasm was intoxicating and his knowledge and insight impressive. But what shone above all was his kindness. He always found time to chat and this probably helped hone his uncanny eye for spotting new talent. I will miss him, as I know the wider INCA production team will.”
Worth is survived by his wife Kelly and ex-wife Hilda, who is the mother of his children Patti, Max, Henry and Louis. Worth’s other survivors include his brother, Julian; sister Erica and grandchildren Edie, Jack and Margot.
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