Founder of DKNY
Clothing Company – New York-based fashion house specializing in fashion goods for men and women
“Everything I do is a matter of heart, body and soul,” says Donna Karan, chief designer of the international company that bears her name. “For me, designing is an expression of who I am as a woman, with all the complications, feelings and emotions.”
In fact, Karan credits her feminine instincts for the success of the company she founded in 1984 with her late husband Stephan Weiss, which went on to become a publicly–traded enterprise in 1996, and then five years later, was acquired by its present owner, the French luxury conglomerate, LVMH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Says Karan, “that I’m a woman makes me want to nurture others, fulfill needs and solve problems. At the same time, the artist within me strives for beauty, both sensually and visually. So design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.”
A freshly blended juice and a piece of dark chocolate.
You’ll find art books on my bed stand – gorgeous inspirational photos, or my journal where I draw ideas and make notes.
How has your marketing strategy evolved since inception? Do you utilize social media and to what extent? How do you capitalize on the recent fashion trends?
Social media and e-commerce is everything right now. You have to be plugged in to be heard. Personally, I love it. I love the intimacy of being able to reach someone when they’re in their home or office – when they have time to truly pay attention. I don’t think e-commerce can ever replace the store experience, but it gives us all options we never had before. Fashion-wise, I’m not a trend-chaser and never have been. Yes, DKNY does fast fashion clothes, but it’s more about individuality, giving the customer great pieces she can style in her own way.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Any and everywhere. My go-to sources are the streets of New York City, my travels around the world and my love of nature. But I can be inspired by a great exhibit or something as simple as a scarf I once saw on a friend. As my mentor Anne Klein would always say “you have two eyes, use them!”