Surly most of us have heard the name Donna Karan and are aware of DKNY. Since 1985 the brand has been synonymous with clear and classic lines, easily interchangeable and predominately monochrome. Karan’s early collections were based on the idea that with the right basics, seven pieces to be precise, a woman could accomplish anything. So far so good. What you might not know is that Donna Karan stepped down from her own label in 2015 to fully concentrate and evolve her new brand Urban Zen. Let us tell you more about it.
Urban Zen – From Loss And Legacy To Finding Your Purpose
Karan established Urban Zen as a foundation in 2007 after losing her husband to lung cancer. “Stephan battled lung cancer for seven years. As anyone who has been through it knows, you feel so helpless. As loved ones, we’re not trained in health care. There is no guide to call, no one to tell you what to do. Yet you’ll do anything to help. Urban Zen is Stephan’s legacy as much as it is mine. He knew that I had to do Urban Zen, he was very clear about that. We talked about it all the time. So it’s not surprising that his death was followed by the birth of the Urban Zen Foundation, which has come to define all that I do and care about.”
The Urban Zen Foundation allows Donna Karan to create, connect and collaborate in order to raise awareness and inspire change. Change in the areas of preservation of cultures, wellbeing and education. Plus with her fashion line under the same label, she is finally able to not only dress but to address people as well.
Preserving Cultures – Urban Zen’s Fashion And Accessories Line
Donna says: “I have always been drawn to something that is handmade. It has a soul behind it. Someone has put his or her own heart into it. I love to support the artisans from around the world and I fill the Urban Zen stores with their works.” Urban Zen’s fashion style is timeless and without season. It is designed to go day into night, climate to climate, and travel the world – simply, sensually, uniquely. Urban Zen’s fashion and accessories line and its stores are synonymous with the organisation’s mission to preserve culture. The aim is to create a soulful economy where a lot of care is given to what, how and where the designs are made.
Urban Zen supports cultures to maintain their natural essence and identity in the face of globalisation. It creates programs to assist communities in preserving their unique cultural and spiritual values. The programs celebrate the artisans’ creativity and artistry by working together to ensure their sustainability. They also promote economic development through job creation and vocational education and help raise awareness.
Integrative Health – A Groundbreaking Way Of Healing
In addition to working to preserve cultures and provide education, Urban Zen is Karan’s vehicle for her passion to provoke change in our western approach to medicine.
Based on Donna Karan’s own experiences with her husband’s cancer diagnosis the integration of mind, body and soul into our current medical system has become a matter not only of heart but also her purpose. She and her husband often felt left alone with their fears and emotional pains. There was little support regarding coping mechanisms and alternative ways of addressing what was happening in their lives. All of this made her aware that the medical system has to change. It has to move away from focussing purely on the sick body towards supporting and refocussing on humans as a whole.
To tackle the problem Urban Zen is determined to provide a solution. Together with many global experts and with the support of hospitals, they developed the ground-breaking Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) Program. The program integrates eastern healing modalities with western science and has now over 800 certified therapists working throughout the USA. UZIT not only looks after patients, it focusses on them and their individual needs. No matter if the needs are of a physical or emotional nature. The outcomes so far have been so astonishing that more and more hospitals in the US are becoming part of the movement and support UZIT.
Reshaping The World With Love And Passion
“Urban Zen is my passion. It’s where all the things I care most about come together: creativity, compassion and community. It’s a connection of past, present and future.”
Please allow me to include a personal comment here. I find it inspiring how Donna Karan has turned her and her husband’s painful experience into something that is greater than them. I feel moved by her determination to bring on change in systems that fail. And even more by the fact that she is changing the world. I have no doubt that we all play our part in making this earth an even better place and I am determined to play a role in this. Thank you Donna Karan for being such an incredible inspiration.