Iconic women's fashion designer Donna Karan, 66, has just announced that she is leaving her role as the chief designer of Donna Karan New York (DKNY). Karan founded the fashion house back in 1984 and has since grown the business into a multimillion dollar enterprise called Donna Karan International. ABC News reports that she will stay on as an advisor to the company.
Karan is stepping down not to retire, like you may have originally thought, but to devote more time and energy to the Urban Zen Company and Foundation, a non-profit organization she founded in 2007. The foundation aims to improve the healing and treatment process for medical patients. After losing her husband Stephen to lung cancer, Karan was disappointed by the health care he received. According to Karan, after that experience, she desired to create a "bridge to the humane health care system we all want. There's no doubt that at moments of crisis and vulnerability, conventional medicine is critical in treating many diseases, but our science does not embrace the spirit of wholeness essential to authentic caring for patients and their families. Every one of us needs and deserves true caring at those times."
DKNY released a statement honoring their founder: "Over the past three decades, Donna Karan has inspired women around the world to embrace their power and sensuality. Donna Karan is an icon, visionary designer and a passionate philanthropist. She believes in dressing and addressing women. Her impact on American fashion has been extraordinary and she will continue to influence and inspire for years to come."