Donna Karan Wants a Fashion Revolution

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Ever wonder why, when you go shopping for a cute new bikini in the middle of the summer, stores are selling parkas and sweaters? So does Donna Karan. Frankly, she thinks the entire system should be changed and that the public is ready for it. "I hate to say it, somebody’s got to take the leap of faith and deal with the June, July market," she told WWD. "Pre-fall shouldn’t exist, I’m sorry. Wrong. Let’s start there. We’ve got to bring clothes into season." Wait, no pre-fall? Whatever would we do without that ... sort of made-up season? According to Donna, we'd fold it into fall, and the rollout for merchandise would actually be when customers are shopping for fall items. That actually makes sense. Huh.

The root of this problem, Donna contends, is that we're overloaded. We have too much staring at us, kind of like how we're all eating too much.

You eat all of the food, more, more, more, more and more. It’s an abundance of nausea. It’s too, too much until pop! It’s going to pop. All of this stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff; it’s going to obliterate each other. The whole thing has to be rethought, completely.


But, and there's always a but, what happens when we start shifting the seasons? Where does resort go? (Also, who actually buys resort?)

Resort? I believe there should be a separate going-away area in each store. Take a part of a store and create that energy. But don’t make the whole store into shorts and sandals when it’s snowing out. The consumer already told me that doesn’t work because the most successful product we did for resort are cashmere sweaters — wear-now.


Donna has an answer for everything! She is a wise sage, this one. But wait! What about spring? Well, she says we have to reinvent spring.

Resort screwed up spring. And then pre-fall screwed up spring. Everything screwed spring up. Spring got sort of caged out. I’m saying to reinvent spring again, reinvent fall again, reinvent the season we’re designing for.


We have to say that we do in fact agree that there is a huge disparity between the timing of the shows and the seasonal rollouts. For many of us, by the time spring or fall hits, we're already sick of the trends since we've been seeing and talking about them for months. The question is, how can one designer (albeit an influential one) change the system? Once more people started doing resort, it became a legitimate season to view. Then followed pre-fall. Will it only take a few core designers to say "Hell no, we won't show?" Or will a major shift have to come from the consumers? And really, have you ever bought resort or pre-fall? We're curious.

The Fashion System: Donna Karan [WWD]