In this interview, Donna Karan provides three key pieces of advice to young fashion design students.
Loss of Her Father and Working Mom:
"I don't think I've ever gotten over it. I think, you know, being a working mom is the one thing I never wanted to be."
First Fashion Show:
"I did a fashion show when I was in high school. So I used to hang out in the Art Department."
Seven Easy Pieces:
The bodysuit, the skirt, the blazer, the sweater, scarf, an evening piece…and accessories.
10 Minutes Early or 10 Minutes Late:
60 minutes late.
Donna Karan never expected to be a working mother, but at 25 years old with a newborn baby girl, Karan was asked to take the helm of women's sportswear and apparel label, Anne Klein. After 10 years of leading the design team of Anne Klein, Karan was "fired" and from the label and rehired to create her own eponymous Donna Karan New York and later her DKNY labels.
Karan's 30 year span in the fashion industry has allowed her the opportunity to reach a wide range of people with her philanthropic efforts. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Karan implored her colleagues to organize Seventh on Sale, a four-day fashion benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. In 2007, Karan cofounded Urban Zen, a model of philanthropy and commerce, was founded by Donna Karan to create, connect and collaborate in order to raise awareness and inspire change.
Karan has been awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year and became the first woman to win the CFDA's award for Menswear Designer of the Year. In 2012, Karan was presented with a Clinton Global Citizen Award for her relief work in Haiti.