Donna Karan never expected to be a working mother, but at 25 years old with a newborn baby girl, Karan was asked to take the helm of women's sportswear and apparel label, Anne Klein. After 10 years of leading the design team of Anne Klein, Karan was ""fired"" from the label and rehired to create her own eponymous Donna Karan New York and later her DKNY labels.
Karan's 30-year career in the fashion industry has allowed her the opportunity to reach a wide range of people with her philanthropic efforts. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, Karan implored her colleagues to organize Seventh on Sale, a four-day fashion benefit for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. In 2007, Karan co-founded Urban Zen, a model of philanthropy and commerce that worked to create, connect and collaborate in order to raise awareness and inspire change.
Karan has been awarded the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year and became the first woman to win the CFDA's award for Menswear Designer of the Year. In 2012, Karan was presented with a Clinton Global Citizen Award for her relief work in Haiti. In July 2015, Karan announced that she will step down as chief designer of her brand to focus on her philanthropic work with Urban Zen.