Aharon Castro, a pioneer of Israel’s fashion industry, died on Wednesday at age 84.From a sewing room in his mother’s Herzl Street apartment in south Tel Aviv, Castro branched out to build an empire.His mother, Anina, was a talented needlewoman with a flair for design, and Tel Aviv women who wanted an attractive new dress beat a path to her door.Aharon Castro was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, and migrated to Tel Aviv with his family in 1933.During his youth in the small Tel Aviv apartment, he was surrounded by fashion, and after completing his army service opened his first small textile and fashion store in the city.For the first few years, Castro fashions was essentially basic, in line with the country’s economic austerity, but as the economy began to flourish, so did Castro’s styles, running the gamut from basic to romantic to exotic. Castro now caters to men, women and children and has done for several years.Although there were obviously other fashion enterprises in pre-state Israel before Castro, most if not all have fallen by the wayside. Castro has been around as a registered firm for nearly as long as the state. Castro actually used to manufacture for some of the companies that have disappeared. The Castro family have been in business for 67 years. Aharon Castro and his wife, Lena, were joined by their daughter Etti and her husband, Gabi Rotter, who subsequently became the co-directors of the company, in which their sons are now involved, and in which their daughter-in-law, Rotem Sela, an actress and professional model, participates in Castro fashion shows.It was not until the 1990s that Castro became a household word – aided perhaps by a somewhat naughty commercial on Channel 2 that focused on the Castro coat.Many of Israel’s leading models, including some who reached international repute, had their start on the runway of a Castro fashion show – among them Wonder Woman Gal Gadot.Today Castro is Israel’s national trendsetter.Aharon Castro’s funeral was held on Thursday in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Lena; daughters Anina and Etty, their husbands Motti Greenberg and Gaby Rotter; his son Avi and sister Flora Uziel; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.