Inspiring Women In Fashion: Donna Karan
May 7, 2020
Penelope Trent

I haven’t done this segment a while, and to be honest, I missed it! In case you needed a reminder, we are going to explore the life and career of one of fashion’s most inspiring and influential women. Today, the groundbreaking designer we are going to appreciate is Donna Karan. Donna Karen, also known as “DK,” is an American fashion designer and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing label.

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Born as Donna Ivy Faske, Karan was born on October 2nd, 1948, in the Forest Hills neighborhood of the Borough of Queens, New York City. Her mother, Helen (“Queenie”), was a model and also worked in designer Chester Weinberg’s showroom. Her father, Gabby Faske, was a tailor and haberdashery. Karan’s family is of Jewish descent. When Karan was merely three years old, her father passed away. Her stepfather was a suit designer. Karan later moved with her mother and big sister, Gabi, to Woodmere, New York, where she was raised.

By the age of 14, Karan began her journey in the fashion industry, selling clothing at a local boutique. In 1968, at the age of 20, Karan was accepted into the highly respected Parsons School of Design in New York City. Karan attended the school for two years before going to work for Anne Klein as an assistant designer. In 1971, she was promoted to associate designer. After Klein died in 1974, and at the age of 26, Donna Karan became head designer of the fashion house.

Getty Images/ The Washington Post/ The Washington Post

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