Donna Karan - part I

Donna Karan is one of the designers, who very successfully pair philanthropy with retail. After her second husban's death, she launched her foundation Urban Zen (in 2006), promoting holistic medicine, wellness, fair trade, sustainability and empowering children.

"She has created a philanthropic value system that has fashion companies rethinking the way they do business (no brand is without a cause), the health industry reconsidering the possibility of merging Eastern and Western treatments (thanks to Urban Zen's Integrative Therapy initiative) and many people (particularly those in earthquake-torn Haiti) feeling enormously grateful to a woman whose name they may only recognize from billboard advertising" (Tina Gaudoin).

During the early 90's, Donna Karan was fascinated by Zen philosophy and spirituality. Deepak Chopra became her guru. She organized galas and events, raising awareness about AIDS and ovarian cancer. After major earthquake shattered Haiti in 2010, Donna Karan launched a relief effort "Hope, Help and Rebuild Haiti". Initially, she was mainly focused on helping those, who suffered because of the tragedy, but subsequently she became also involved in helping local artisans. In order to preserve Haitian culture and sustainable model of commerce, Karan decided to promote the art community to the rest of the world. Three Urban Zen boutiques sell handmade items made by local artisans in Haiti. The proceeds from the sale benefit Urban Zen foundation. Karan believes that Haiti has a great future: "I spend a lot of time in Bali, and I've been so impressed by its ability to respect the people, the culture and the spirituality of the place but still move forward economically. I see the same possibility in Haiti. But it's not something that can happen overnight (...) Its beauty and authenticity of culture grips your heart and captures your soul. I saw such spirit, such promise and such talent that I felt there had to be a way to preserve this country that had been so devastated and rebuild what they had lost".

One of the best known American designers had fashion in her blood. As a 14-year old girl (a daughter of a tailor and a model), she lied about her age in order to get a job, selling clothes in one of the boutiques. She wasn't a good student at school but somehow did really well at New York's Parsons School of Design. "I was always a working person. I knew fashion was a part of me whether I'd be a retailer or an illustrator or what. I knew I was artistic. Whether I was artistic enough was a real question in my mind".

Karan didn't finish her studies at Parsons. She became an assistant to a designer known for her sportswear aesthetic- Anne Klein. She didn't last very long, got fired after barely few months. In 1974, Karan was rehired again and this time did exceptionally well, eventually becoming a major player at the company.

www.donnakaran.com

Donna Karan jest projektantką mody mocno zaangażowaną w działalność filantropijną. Po śmierci swojego męża, Karan założyła fundację Urban Zen (w 2006 roku), promującą m.in. medycynę holistyczną oraz zasady "fair trade". "She has created a philanthropic value system that has fashion companies rethinking the way they do business (no brand is without a cause), the health industry reconsidering the possibility of merging Eastern and Western treatments (thanks to Urban Zen's Integrative Therapy initiative) and many people (particularly those in earthquake-torn Haiti) feeling enormously grateful to a woman whose name they may only recognize from billboard advertising" (Tina Gaudoin).

We wczesnych latach 90tych Donna Karan zafascynowała się filozofią Zen, duchowością, a jej guru został Deepak Chopra. Projektantka organizowała przyjęcia i gale, których celem było poruszanie takich kwestii, jak walka z AIDS, czy rakiem jajników i zbieranie funduszy na walkę z tymi chorobami. Kiedy w 2010 roku potężne trzęsienie ziemi dotknęło Haiti, Karan założyła organizację "Hope, Help and Rebuild Haiti". Najpierw skupiała się wyłącznie na pomocy dotkniętym tragedią, ale po pewnym czasie zainteresowała się też miejscowymi rzemieślnikami. Ich wyroby, biżuteria zaczęły być sprzedawane w trzech butikach Urban Zen, a dochody z ich sprzedaży zasilają konto fundacji. Karan wierzy w to, ze Haiti ma przed sobą wspaniałą przyszłość: "I spend a lot of time in Bali, and I've been so impressed by its ability to respect the people, the culture and the spirituality of the place but still move forward economically. I see the same possibility in Haiti. But it's not something that can happen overnight (...) Its beauty and authenticity of culture grips your heart and captures your soul. I saw such spirit, such promise and such talent that I felt there had to be a way to preserve this country that had been so devastated and rebuild what they had lost".

Jedna z najsłynniejszych amerykańskich projektantek miała modę "we krwi" od urodzenia. Jako 14 letnia dziewczynka (córka modelki i krawca), skłamała w kwestii swojego wieku, aby rozpocząć pracę w jednym z butików, sprzedając ubrania. Nie była dobrą uczennicą, jednak dzięki protekcji dostała się na prestiżową nowojorską uczelnię Parsons. "I was always a working person. I knew fashion was a part of me whether I'd be a retailer or an illustrator or what. I knew I was artistic. Whether I was artistic enough was a real question in my mind". Karan nie skończyła studiów w Parsons, gdyż została asystentką popularnej wówczas projektantki, znanej ze swoich sportowych kolekcji- Anny Klein. Jednak po kilku miesiącach została zwolniona. W 1974 roku została zatrudniona ponownie i tym razem poradziła sobie doskonale, z biegiem czasu odgrywając coraz ważniejszą rolę w firmie.

 

Ewa Bytomska

 

 

 

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