Donna Karan: Founder of DKNY

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How did you get into the fashion industry?

I was born into fashion – literally. My father was a custom tailor and my mother was a showroom model. Even my stepfather was in the business. So fashion was all around me from the day I was born. I put on my first fashion show in high school, and my first job was at a clothing boutique on Long Island called Sherrie’s. I went to Parson’s School of design, which led to a summer job at Anne Klein & Company. Anne told me not to go back to school, that I could learn more with her, and, with a lot of twists, turns and surprises, the rest is history.

Your advice to aspiring fashion designers?

Get a job in retail. Design school is essential too, of course, but there is nothing more valuable than meeting with your consumer. What does she look for? What does she buy? The more you know on the ground level, the better a designer you’ll be.

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