Since launching her company in 1985, Donna Karan has become a household name and her collections continue to meet the needs of the modern woman season after season. Famous for her “Essentials” line that initially consisted of “seven easy pieces” that could be mixed and matched and take a woman from the office to dinner, Donna Karan built her design house on the principle that she would only design clothes that she would wear herself.
Donna Karan could easily rest on her hard earned success. But instead, she has chosen to reach out to people across the globe and aid those less fortunate than herself. In 2007, Karan launched the Urban Zen Foundation, an organization with a mission to preserve world cultures, empower children and reshape healthcare. Taking that mission to countries around the world, Donna Karan has brought the Urban Zen Foundation to Haiti. Aiding in the rebuilding of the earthquake ravaged country, the Urban Zen Foundation is employing all of the tenets of the organization to do so.
Launched in tandem with the Urban Zen Foundation, the Urban Zen stores serve both as a source of funding for the organization and as an outlet for handcrafted items made by artisans in countries such as Haiti, Indonesia, Senegal and Bali. By supporting the artisans of these countries, it not only helps to preserve their indigenous art forms, but it also gives them a path to self sustainability.With stores already in New York and Sag Harbor, Urban Zen has now opened a store on the West Coast! Originally opened as a temporary “pop-up” store in West Hollywood in March of 2011, the success of Urban Zen on the West Coast has led to its opening as a permanent store there. The store is a perfect match for the L.A. lifestyle, carrying everything form yoga inspired clothing, jewelry, essential oils, body care products and home furnishing.
We visited the West Hollywood store and spoke with John Omlor, Director of Stores, about the store, the foundation and what Urban Zen is all about. We also got to speak to Donna Karan about the foundation and what it is currently working on!
Video Photography by Omri Escalante