Donna Karan goes back to ba­sics with a do-good brand of three shops

Bespoke - - FASHION SHOOT -

Hav­ing sold to LVMH in 2001, Donna Karan left the helm of the house that bears her name last year in a move that took many by sur­prise. “LVMH and I have made this de­ci­sion af­ter much soul-search­ing. I have ar­rived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pur­sue my Ur­ban Zen com­mit­ment.” It was the first time many had even heard of Ur­ban Zen, an East meets West life­style brand that she started in 2007 to sell cloth­ing, ac­ces­sories, home­ware and fur­ni­ture. What’s so in­ter­est­ing about it though is that it has aimed to present a new re­tail model that merges com­merce with phi­lan­thropy through an al­lo­ca­tion of a por­tion of all sales to­wards its own foun­da­tion. “It’s more than fash­ion,” says Karan. “It’s more like a move­ment. I call it con­scious con­sumerism, where you’re both dress­ing a cus­tomer and ad­dress­ing them be­cause there’s a story be­hind ev­ery item.” The work of her foun­da­tion aims to bring to­gether like-minded peo­ple and or­gan­i­sa­tions to im­ple­ment ac­tion in the ar­eas of well-be­ing, em­pow­er­ing chil­dren and pre­serv­ing cul­ture. To date, they have in­vested in a range of ac­tiv­i­ties from a vo­ca­tional school in Haiti with Par­sons, to the de­vel­op­ment of a pi­lot pro­gramme at the Mount Si­nai hospi­tal to in­tro­duce East­ern heal­ing into Western med­i­cal prac­tices.

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