DKNY – Donna Karan New York: Fashion Label Info

DKNY creates fashion lines which are highly chic and modern designs for the young and old.

DKNY – Designer label Biography

DKNY is a timeless American-based fashion brand that is captained by fashion designer Donna Karan. The brand label is the ‘brain child’ of the 68 year old American-Jewish fashion designer. The brand was originally only catered for women.

Early life of DKNY

  • Born Donna Ivy Faske, Karan was born on 2nd October, 1948, in Forrest Hill, New York.
  • She is the daughter of Helen and Gabby Faske. Her father, who was a tailor died in a car crash when she was only 3 years old.
  • Donna grew up in a household that encompassed a fashionable lifestyle. Her mother was a model and her stepfather, who was a designer for men’s wear, owned a small boutique.
  • Donna presented her first clothing line in high school. At age of 14 years old, the aspiring fashion designer bailed out of school, to go and work at a local boutique. She managed to get a job by lying about her age.
  • Due to her commitment to a career in Fashion, her perseverance and dedication, Donna was accepted at the Parsons School of Design in 1968.
  • During her second year, Donna had an opportunity to work for Anne Klein. Anne Klein hired the budding designer to work with her during school holidays.
  • After 9 months, working for Anne Klein, Donna was fired. She was later rehired and dedicated herself to an outstanding performance.
  • Her qualities in fashion design, gained her prominence at the fashion house, and she was promoted to be an associate designer, in 1971.
  • In 1973, Donna Faske married Mark Karan,  a professional sculptor and had a daughter, Gabby Karan.
  • Also in 1973, Donna participated at the Battle of Versailles Fashion Show.
  • In 1974, the fashion industry suffered a great loss, when Anne Klein died of breast cancer.


  • After the death of Anne Klein, Donna Karan was appointed as the successor of the legendary fashion designer.
  • Louis Dell’ Olio,  a friend and former classmate at the Parsons School, later joined Donna at the fashion house to design the Anne Klein collection.
  • In 1977, Donna was presented with the Coty American Fashion Critics Award.
  • Donna divorced Mark Karan in 1978, but she continued to use Karan as her last name.
  • In 1982, Donna spearheaded the launch of the diffusion line – Anne Klein II.
  • With all the experience and skills she had imparted from the house of Anne Klein, Donna wanted to produce her own label. In 1982 she was again awarded with the Coty American Fashion Critics Award.
  • In 1983, Donna Karan married Stephen Weiss.
  • Donna left the fashion house of the ever-celebrated American fashion designerAnne Klein, in 1984. Within the same year, Donna was inducted at the Coty Hall Of Fame.
  • With the help of her late second husband – Stephen Weiss, Donna launched her first women’s wear collection, in 1985 – DKNY.
  • In 1987, she launched the DKNY Hosiery. A year later she presented the Donna Karan New York ready-to-wear collection.
  • Donna was awarded for Womenswear of the Year Award, by the Council of Fashion Designers of America – CFDA, in 1990 and in 1996.
  • Also in 1990, Donna released her first jeans line for women.
  • In 1992, DKNY launched a perfume line and her first menswear collection.
  • A list of fashion labels followed, such as DKNY kids, DKNY men’s accessories, Donna Karan New York eye-wear and Donna Karan New York shoes.
  • The American based fashion brand opened a branch in Milan in 1993 and in 1994 a flagship store in London followed.
  • DKNY went public and was enlisted at the NYSE,  New York Stock Exchange, in 1996.
  • By the year of 1997, Donna Karan stepped down as CEO to focus on other projects. In the same year she released her signature collection.
  • A year later, the company partnered with Estee Lauder to produce a beauty collection.
  • In 1999, another flagship store was opened at Madison Avenue, in New York.
  • Two years later another flagship store at West Broadway, in Soho.
  • By the year 2000, DKNY owned numerous boutique stores in various places, including Costa Mesa, Ala Moana, Northbrook, California and Hawaii.
  • By mid-2000, the company presented a series of  swimwear collections.
  • After losing her second husband to cancer, Donna sold her company to Moet Hennessy Louis VuittonLVMH, in 2001. LVMH is a French luxury conglomerate. The company was sold for 640 million U.S dollars. Donna remained at the fashion house as head fashion designer. 
  • Also in 2001, Donna released a series of DKNY home collections.


DKNY creates fashion with chic and modern designs for the young and old. The fashion label also produces home décor lines, fashionable accessories, watches and fragrances. Donna Karan New York is best known for its unique mix of styles of modern designs.


  • Donna Karan became the first American to win the Fashion Group International’s “Superstar Award”, in 2003.
  • In 2004, the CFDA awarded Donna with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her role in the fashion industry. In the same year she published her autobiography – The Journey of a Woman.
  • A year later, the American fashion house launched the DKNY men’s fragrance.
  • In 2007, Donna Karan opened a boutique store in Beijing, China.
  • Also in 2007, Glamour magazine named the American-born Jewish designer “Women of the Year”.
  • By the year 2009, Donna Karan New York presented a series of fashion lines; the DKNY Golfwomen’s wear, DKNY men’s belts and luxury leather goods.
  • Another DKNY store was opened in Delhi, India, in 2009.
  • In 2010, the former president – Bill Clinton honoured Karan with the Clinton Global Citizen Award. Before she was honoured with the award, she was requested by the former American president to design the Clinton Global Citizen Award.
  • Today’s fashion conscious community champions the DKNY designs as ‘modern Fashion designed for modern people’.


“Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxury, the practical with the desirable.”

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