Update – Alden Clanahan: A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20th at the Dallas World Trade Center. Please visit our Event Calendar for details.
On Sunday, February 5th, the Dallas fashion community lost a devoted colleague and beloved friend with the passing of Alden Clanahan (1959-2012).
Standing head and shoulders above the crowd, his smiling face was a welcome sight at just about every stylish event in town. Behind the scenes, Alden’s vital involvement in the local and national fashion community spanned more than three decades, including both his professional work and charitable endeavors.
At Fashion’s Night Out 2011, Galleria Dallas
An east Texas native, Alden began his career in Dallas at Sanger Harris in 1981. He then accepted the position of Production Manager for designer Sandra Garratt, with whom he stayed through the close of her Deep Ellum business.
Years as a visual merchandising manager for Neiman Marcus followed, an experience that Alden described in glowing terms. “Working for [Neiman Marcus] opened my eyes to a magnificent executive team that nurtured raw, emerging talent,” he wrote. “I learned something new about retail and high design on a daily basis.”
Moving on from Neiman’s, Alden then established his own business, focusing on visual merchandising, store planning, and store design. Among his many high-profile clients were Tootsies, Carlos Falchi, Escada, and The Greenhouse Spas.
In 2001, Alden joined the team of Dallas Market Center, later achieving the position of Vice President of Trend Direction and Design. He excelled in this role, the culmination of his career, which involved oversight and direction of fashion shows, trend reports, photo shoots, and more. In the words of Bill Winsor, President and CEO of Dallas Market Center, “His keen eye and creative vision were an inspiration to every single person who walked through the Dallas marketplace. His intelligent expression and generosity will be deeply missed.”
With fellow FGI Dallas board member, Sarah Blacketer
Extending his commitment to the fashion community beyond business hours, Alden was also an indispensable member of the board of Fashion Group International of Dallas, and a three-term member of the Board of Trustees of DIFFA (Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS). In honor of his work with DIFFA, Alden was selected as a “Texas Legend” in 2005.
Through FGI, Alden found his participation in the organization’s annual Career Day program especially rewarding, stating, “It gives me great comfort to know that the future of fashion is clearly a strong one, and is in most capable hands.”
On a personal level, we at DFW Style Daily are proud to remember Alden as a friend and a treasured mentor. Working with him on many projects through the years, we can attest to his insight, professionalism, and irresistible sense of humor.
In the words of Rhonda Sargent Chambers, “Alden felt a responsibility to guide people, a responsibility to connect people. He took great pride in that. He loved to conceptualize beautiful things, encourage others to see his vision, and then follow it through so that it could grow. After twenty five years, I am most proud that I was able to work for him, work with him, and to be his friend.”
At the FGI Lounge, Galleria Dallas, Fashion’s Night Out 2011
Alden is survived by his mother Wanda Clanahan of Tyler, as well as his brother, sister, half sister, and his beloved Corgi, Bella. A memorial has been arranged in the Atrium of the Dallas World Trade Center, and guests are invited to visit and pay their respects. In addition, a public remembrance and celebration of the life of Alden Clanahan is planned for the evening of Tuesday, March 20th, in the Hall of Nations at the Dallas World Trade Center (visit our Event Calendar for details). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to DIFFA Dallas and the SPCA.