Who knew that Donna Karan was a Parsons’ alumni? The lucky students of the school were able to go to a career talk at which she spoke on Thursday night, proving to be both a mentor and student advocate. After speaking in the auditorium, she also critiqued thesis papers of graduates and gave advice to students, which is something that is extremely commendable. It’s not every day that you find a designer who is willing spread the wealth, and share insight onto the harsh realities of the field. The industry, as demanding as it is, can be difficult to break in to, and without knowledge of what sort of expectations there are, even the most aggressive and go-getting in the field can fall without the right direction.
Karan spoke about what inspired her, pointing to the walls, she said, “Those holes on the wall, the rocks on the beach… when you’re a designer everything talks to you, we are like magnets on steroids.” She discussed the importance of always keeping the body connected to what speaks to you, and being sensitive to movement, especially when designing activewear. “Dressing a model and dressing a person are two very different things,” the seasoned designer told students, “You should always try to have the consciousness of a sculptor.”
The reputable fashion designer has aspects to her business that most people have probably over looked. Striving to empower women, she tries to incorporate her views into her work or through business. She also thinks it’s important to remember humanitarian efforts within her business, as well as her lifestyle.
“My biggest fear is that we are losing our cultures,” she said, reminding students to stay in touch with the world, not lose sight of the cultural diversity that surrounds the industry, and the world as a whole.
All in all, it seems Donna Karan is not just a fashion designer, but a human advocate. Truly caring about the future of the industry, she urges students to never lose sight of what they stand for, but rather to use it as inspiration. In other words, don’t sell out. Donna Karan has never done that, and its done nothing but work in her favor.