Demise of young retailer shocks business community
Friends, colleagues and fellow industry players of fashion retailer and events promoter Desmond Vella were yesterday shocked upon hearing news of the sudden demise of the 34-year-old businessman while he was on holiday with his family in Cyprus.
Mr Vella’s cause of death remains so far uncertain, although it is reported that between Monday and Tuesday night he was depending on a life-support machine.
In a recent interview with Business Today, Mr Vella had revealed his intention of opening four new shops within the next five years. He owned fashion outlets Exit, Miss Sixty, Shu and Babylon; and is known for having organised the music festival series Tribu and as co-organiser of Earth Garden.
Lost for words, VF Group Director Kevin Vassallo said: “Desmond was a very good, dear and personal friend. I am shocked, and so saddened that I really don’t know what to say. I can’t put it in words.”
Megaline director Saviour Bartolo, who used to organise Tribu Music Festival with Desmond said: “It’s a very, very sad loss. I worked with him for 15 years on Tribu, and in a matter of four years we managed to bring up the crowd from 700 to 10,000.”
Gianpula director Matthew de Giorgio described Desmond’s sudden demise as “shocking news”, adding that he could not even understand what exactly had happened. “Desmond had great ideas, I’m very sad. This has helped me realise how fragile we are - we only live once and we should make the most out of life. Today you’re here, tomorrow you’re not.”
Café Jubilee co-owner Anton Scicluna, whose Valletta outlet neighbours Miss Sixty and Shu, said: “Desmond was a respected member of the business community and was known for his professionalism. He was deeply committed to making his ideas work and he was the kind of person who would either do everything perfect or do nothing at all. He made inroads, just look at his outlets – both in terms of design as well as how dedicated he was with them.”
On her part, Terranova franchisee Diane Izzo describes Desmond as “a true gentleman, fantastic person, very easy-going and always ready to help.” She said his demise will mean a great loss to the business community, adding that this is a “sad and very unfair loss. He will be missed but never forgotten.”
Desmond would have turned 35 today.