Known for clothes both classic and comfortable, Donna Karan International (DKI) defines the metropolitan flair that bridges the difference between stylishly casual and conventional. The firm designs and sells men's and women's clothes, including suits, sportswear, accessories, and shoes, under the Donna Karan New York, DKNY, DKNY Jeans, and DKNY Active labels. DKI sells to upscale department and specialty stores and through its own retail stores. It also licenses third parties to run most of its international stores. Fashion leviathan LVMH holds a majority stake in Donna Karan, although designer Karan still remains in creative control of its fashion lines and helps maintain her namesake brand.
DKI is part of LVMH's fashion and leather goods business group, alongside some of the parent company's popular brands Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Thomas Pink, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton. The group, which generated 37% of its parent's 2010 revenue, was led in sales by Louis Vuitton, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, and Givenchy -- all with double-digit growth in revenue in 2010.
With the recession behind the fashion brand, DKI has logged sales gains in the US and overseas. The label points to fashion shows and its image makeover in recent years for the boost. DKI repositioned its 25-year-old Donna Karan Collection in 2010 to expand its customer base and target a high-growth market segment. The new-and-improved collection also earned its own store in Las Vegas. In international markets, the LVMH apparel firm saw traction in Asia for its New York line DKNY.
Facing lower demand in the American market, DKI during 2009 pared down its operating costs to post a profit. The clothing designer also launched several products -- under brands Modern Icons, Cashmere, and DKNY -- that proved to be successful. DKI saw positive results by concentrating on best-sellers and through its concept of designing a collection that transitions well from day to evening.
It also partnered with menswear maker S. Kumars Nationwide in early 2010 in a joint venture that extends through 2015, initially, with a renewal option to extend the agreement another seven years. With S. Kumars as 80% owner in the SKNL UK Ltd. entity, the company will source, design, and distribute DKNY-branded men's apparel worldwide. The move allows womenswear expert DKI to concentrate on its core competencies.
The company also licenses its name to the likes of Estée Lauder (beauty products), Fossil (watches), Liz Claiborne (activewear), PVH (men's shirts), Oxford Industries (children's clothes), and Luxottica (eyewear). DKI sells primarily to upscale department and specialty stores and through the company's 15 full-price stores and 50-plus discount outlets in the US and the UK. Liz Claiborne operates DKNY Jeans stores, and DKI also licenses stores in Japan and elsewhere in the Asia/Pacific region.
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