DKNY: The Epitome of New York

DKNY is one of the most admired fashion labels in the world. It all started in 1984 when Donna Karan, born Donna Faske, decided to launch a label that reflected her own style and would meet the needs of the modern American woman.

Born to create

Native of Queens, Donna Karan is a born designer—her father was a tailor and her mother was a model. She studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York, the same school attended by other giants of the fashion world such as Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui. In 1968, at the age of twenty, Karan started working for Anne Klein and just five years later became the label’s head designer after Klein’s death. Klein instilled in Karan an appreciation for detail and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Ten years later, in 1984, Karan and her husband Stephan Weiss launched the first Donna Karan New York collection, Seven Easy Pieces. The collection included seven key pieces: a bodysuit, a tailored jacket, a skirt, pants, a cashmere sweater, a leather jacket, and an evening look. Donna Karan New York designs wardrobe basics for the emancipated woman who never knows where the day will take her—she needs items that are functional and easy to coordinate without compromising on style and elegance. Donna Karan believes women’s fashion doesn’t have to be complicated to be pretty—it needs to work for real women’s real lives. Following the success of her first collections, Karan was named Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in 1985. 

 1- Donna Karan in 1985. Photo: The New York Times

 2- The famous Donna Karan bodysuit.

 3- Donna Karan New York, 1985.

 4- Donna Karan New York, 1986.

A label for the modern woman

Over the years, Donna Karan fed off the energy of New York and used it to create bold yet simple looks that she described as “basic with a twist.” This led to the creation of the DKNY label in 1989, dedicated to a new generation of New York women looking for sophisticated style without any unnecessary embellishments. DKNY looks are practical, comfortable, and affordable. They capture what it means to live a New York life and celebrate confidence, character, and women’s bodies. DKNY has several lines, including DKNY Jeans and DKNY Underwear. Karan also launched a men’s wear line in 1992. The Donna Karan New York label lives on to this day as the house’s classic, luxury clothing line.

 1- DKNY Spring 1989 collection.  

 2- DKNY ad, 1994.

 3- DKNY 2003 Fall collection. Photo:

 4- DKNY Spring 2017 ready to wear. Photo:

Frames for urban living

DKNY created an eyewear line in the early 1990s. The sunglasses and eyeglasses capture the essence of the label, with urban styles and unique touches that put a modern spin on classic frames. The label came back in force in 2019 with the #IAMDKNY ad campaign, which emphasizes DKNY’s New York roots and its ability to meet the needs of women. Recent eyewear collections capture the spirit of New York City with names like City Native, Concrete Jungle, and In Motion.

 1- DKNY Eyes, Spring 1990. 

 2- City Native collection, model DK5003

 3- Model DK504S

 4- Concrete Jungle collection, model DK1001

Donna Karan stepped down from designing the label in 2015 at the age of 66. She is one of the pioneering women of U.S. fashion and early on in her career was nicknamed the “Queen of Seventh Avenue,” the street in New York where DKNY’s headquarters still stand today. 


Look for DKNY eyewear in an Opto-Réseau clinic near you or visit our website and browse the label’s feminine minimalist styles.