Every Graduate Needs to Hear Donna Karan's Advice

Gina Marinelli

Donna Karan might not have graduated from Parsons, but that doesn’t mean the New York fashion icon isn't full of sage advice for the 2017 class of seniors. The entrepreneur joined a group of the most talented new designers this past Monday night—along with the school’s deans Burak Cakmak and Joel Towers, and, of course, this year’s honoree, Rihanna—for the annual Parson’s Benefit. And we can’t help but wonder if her 18-year-old self, who dropped out of the design school to pursue her career, would have guessed she’d land here.

Now, years and quite a few successful labels—namely DKNY, Donna Karan Collection, and Urban Zen, the latter of which is her focus today—later, Karan says it’s passion and knowledge of the “world of conscious consumerism” that she finds honorable in young designers. She’s certainly already an example for those just getting their start, but when we had a chance to talk to Karan, we learned that there’s much more advice the designer and philanthropist has to dole out. You don’t need to be a student to listen to it either.

Scroll down for our full exchange with the industry vet.

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