Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Profile

Donna Karan

Fashion Designer & Philanthropist

More From Donna

In this video

Donna Karan shares her life story in this video interview. The fashion designer explains how she had planned on being a stay-at-home mom until an unexpected turn led to becoming the head of the Anne Klein design team when she was only 25 years old. In her 30 years in the fashion industry, Karan has redefined the modern woman's dress with her eponymous Donna Karan label.

Donna's Biography

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.

Related Videos

Julia Kaganskiy
Julia Kaganskiy
Digital Editor

Julia Kaganskiy is the Global Editor of The Creators Project, a network of digital artists around the world founded by Intel and VICE. Committed to the merging of art and technolog...

Katie Couric
Katie Couric
Network News Pioneer

Katie Couric is an award-winning journalist and TV personality whose time in the storied anchor chair of the CBS Evening News made her the first woman to serve as sole anchor of a ...

Pat Mitchell
Pat Mitchell
Television Pioneer

Pat Mitchell is the current President and Chief Executive Officer of The Paley Center for Media in New York City and the former President and CEO of Public Broadcasting Service (PB...

Andrea Jung
Andrea Jung
First Female CEO of AVON

A letter from Andrea Jung’s father sits on her desk at Avon, where she served as the cosmetic giant’s first female and longest-serving CEO. “Cultivate the absence...