I <3 NY
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 06:10 Written by Donna Karan Thursday, 7 November 2013 07:26
NEW YORK CITY!!!!!!!
I know it’s a cliché, but I heart NY.
It’s no secret that I am a workaholic, but you must also know, I LOVE to play, and in particular, I love playing in NYC! Now, I know I may be biased, but there is something about a NYC celebration that lights up even the darkest recesses of my soul, and this last week was particularly luminous.
To kick it all off, HAL-LO-WEEN!!!! My all-time FAVORITE holiday! I love the idea of donning masks and crazy outfits, yet somehow it unleashes a sense of freedom to be EXACTLY who one wants to be! Inhibitions take the night off, and we all get to let our freak flags fly!
Then, on Sunday I had the first time privilege of sitting at the finish line for the ING New York City Marathon. WOW!!!! What an amazing experience! To be surrounded by amazing people from all over the world, screaming our heads off as we witness the height of human physical potential. (I’m certainly inspired to get my buns back to Pilates.)
Yet, even more than the fun of the costumes, or the electric cheers of the crowd, what moves me most are the parades of people. From the costumed parades of the Village, to the post-race victory march of the runners with their loved ones, New York City pulls together community in way that lights my soul on fire, and fuels me for yet another collection. Keep it coming New York City, you’ll always be my favorite place to play!
Visit our Facebook album for more photos from HalloweenLearn More
Oh! It’s Back to Haiti I go!
Last Updated on Monday, 11 November 2013 12:55 Written by Donna Karan Thursday, 31 October 2013 03:49
I’ve invited a crew of brilliant artists and thinkers, including representatives from Parson’s School of Design, to help us further facilitate my vision of developing a vocational school for artist education.
We begin our voyage in Jacmel, meeting up with the amazing David Bell, touring the beach town and visiting with local crafts people. The following day we head to the school that David founded, the Ciné institute, where I have the privilege of speaking to the students about the power of creativity, and then it’s off again to the city of Port-au-Prince.
Over the next several days, I lead the parson’s team all over Port-au-Prince and the surrounding villages to give them a first hand introduction to the lives and lifestyles of the local Haitian artisans. Visiting paper måché designers, leather workers, hornisons, jewelry and ceramics designers, we discuss the craftspeople’s latest creations, equipment needs, as well as taking time to collaborate and come up with inspiring new design possibilities. We held several meetings-of-the-mind with both social leaders and the leaders of the Haitian artisans to come up with the best strategies to both provide the next level of artist training and development, as well strategies for implementing sustainable business models. I was so inspired listening to everyone’s visions for Haiti’s great and prosperous future!
One of the most moving moments of this trip happened when I finally had the opportunity to visit the Instituion Mitxte Unions des Aportes in Cite Soleil, a school our friend Caroline Sada (and a local priest) built. It exists in the poorest neighborhood in the western hemisphere, but the richness of these beautiful children’s spirits filled me with joy. While the school still has much need for support, these children’s lives have been forever changed by the commitment of Caroline. *to find out how you can contribute to Caroline’s school, please email the Urban Zen Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org
After all these years, I finally had the pleasure of visiting Haiti’s neighbor, the Dominican Republic… WOW!!!! I can’t believe I never took Oscar de la Renta up on any of his offers to visit! What a stunning country! While in the DR I was blessed with an opportunity to visit fine arts school Altos de Chevon, run by fellow Parson’s graduate Steven Kaplan. It is always so wonderful to witness the next generations of artists.
We pop back to Haiti to finish up with our meetings. I leave this magnificent country with an overflowing heart and visions of magnificent possibilities. Can’t wait to go back to Haiti in a few weeks to shoot the Donna Karan ad campaign, once again with my partners in Crime Russell James and Adriana Lima, to further raise awareness and continue to share the beauty of this extraordinary country.
CGI, always an inspiration
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 09:42 Written by Donna Karan Saturday, 12 October 2013 01:03
Once again, I had the extreme honor and privilege of attending and participating in the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Sept 23-26, 2013. For me, it was “the next dimension, the next generation,” where the past, present and future came together. To see how far and wide CGI has grown since its inception in 2005 was breathtaking. This year, so many dots were connected, on a global level, as well as on a personal level.
President Barack Obama came to “chat” with President Bill Clinton. It is mind-blowing to be in the same room as these two great men and listen in. They discussed the importance of Obamacare, and how in order to lift people from poverty, you have to begin with their health. It says everything about President Obama that he chose healthcare as his first and primary initiative. I share that call to action with him; there is no greater need in the world today.
Throughout the conference, there were so many heart-full discussions and presentations. You heard stories of individual suffering, neglect and oppression that made your head spin. We are such a rich and privileged nation, and take so much for granted, from our education to our opportunities. We must have meaningful collaboration on a community and world level if we hope to raise awareness and inspire change.
Every year, as a CGI member, you are asked to make a Commitment to Action. As you may know, my heart and energies have long been directed to helping rebuild Haiti by working to develop their artisan community into a viable and sustainable trade. This year, during a session on the supply chain, I announced our commitment to start a vocational training center in Haiti, by providing a seed capital grant to artisan and business owner Paula Coles of Life, SA. This grant will help implement an artisan vocational training center at the Sonapi Industrial Park in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to launch in February 2014. Going forward, we will galvanize the involvement of leaders in education, such as Parsons School of Design, where I helped launch a Masters program. Education is of critical importance to any industry, which is why I feel so passionate about this commitment. The plan is for Urban Zen to host four master workshops per year for two years. We hope to plant the seed and use this as a model for vocational training to be replicated elsewhere in Haiti and the world.
On a personal level, seeing my Haiti community come to New York is always a dream. There was Maryse Kedar (PRODEV), Paula Coles (Paula | Coles Haiti), Caroline Sada (Ayiti Natives), Paul Farmer (Partners in Health), Joey Adler (ONEXONE), Denis O’Brien (Digicel Groupkaht), Kathleen Matthews (JW Marriot), Scott Griffin (Greif), Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), Sean Penn (J/P HRO), Danielle St. Lot (Femmes en Democratie), and so many others who have tirelessly supported all the different communities in Haiti.
CGI literally pulls the world together. Man, woman, child, rich, poor – everyone is on the agenda. There is this incredible coming together, a dropping of the ego, a reinforcement that it’s the “we” that matters most, never the “me.” The Urban Zen Foundation was inspired by the first CGI meeting I attended, and this last one only solidified my commitment and purpose in life. I’ve come to realize there is selfishness to giving because you get so much back in return. Please, go to the CGI website, and be inspired.
CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE
HAITI ACTION NETWORK
PHOTO CREDIT: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Global InitiativeLearn More