July 23, 1956 |
Barberton, Ohio, United States
|Education||Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising|
|Spouse(s)||Lonnie Kane (since 1979)|
|Children||Michael Kane, Robert Kane|
2014 LA Business Journal Southern California Apparel Award Finalist
|Labels||Karen Kane, Robert Michaels, Karen by Karen Kane, Red 23, Fifteen Twenty|
Kane was born in the Akron suburb Barberton, Ohio, the youngest of three children. At the age of 9, her family moved from Ohio to Santa Barbara, California, where she grew up sewing and taking as many fashion-related classes as possible. Today, Kane lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Lonnie, and runs her namesake clothing company out of Vernon, California.
Karen Kane started her career in fashion when she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles at the age of 19. Her first job was as a pattern maker at a junior sportswear company. It was there that she met her husband and future business partner, Lonnie. In 1979, Karen and Lonnie married and launched the Karen Kane womenswear collection out of their Studio City garage. Initially, the brand was sold only at smaller specialty stores, but as the line expanded, it was picked up by department stores like Macy’s, Belk, Bloomingdales, Dillard’s, Bon Ton, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Von Maur, Carson Pirie Scott, Boston Store, Herberger's, and Younkers. The line continues to be sold at each of these retailers, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and Zappos, and large national specialty stores like Evereve. Kane's clothing is most well known for having an easy, relaxed style that is reflective of her native California.
Kane has been noted as a leader of the American Insourcing movement. In 2012, she was invited to the White House to attend US President Barack Obama's "Insourcing American Jobs" summit and later that year, US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis toured Kane's headquarters in California to learn more about the challenges of domestically manufacturing apparel in the United States. In 2011, 80% of Kane’s line was made in the United States and 20% was imported from other countries. In Spring 2012, that percentage increased to 90%. As of Fall 2013, Kane manufactured over 95% of her collection in the United States (primarily in Southern California).
In addition to the Karen Kane lifestyle collection, Karen by Karen Kane was launched in 2006. Karen by Karen Kane is considered the company's more casual division, designed to complement the more work-ready Karen Kane lifestyle collection. In addition, Kane also produces a plus size division of the lifestyle collection entitled Karen Kane Women’s. In 2013, Kane added a sixth division to her company: Robert Michaels. Named for her two sons, the collection consists of knit dresses, tops, and sweaters, and is sold exclusively at Bloomingdale's.
Kane also designs two other contemporary labels. In 2008, she launched Fifteen Twenty, a collection of assorted separates primarily made of silk, leather, and knit fabrics. The brand has been worn by celebrities such as Eva Longoria, Jessica Biel, Carrie Underwood, January Jones, Hilary Duff, and Ashley Greene. Fifteen Twenty is sold in specialty stores and department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus CUSP, and Bloomingdales. In 2011, Kane introduced a casual complement to her Fifteen Twenty line entitled Red 23. “The line of T-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, jackets and scarves in neutral colors…will be carried by high-end specialty stores.” Red 23 is also sold at Neiman Marcus and Neiman Marcus CUSP.
In 2013, Kane selected IMG (company) to represent the brand in developing licensed products. Under this partnership, Kane's brand will expand to include costume jewelry and head-wear (hats and scarves) in addition to eye-wear with the start of the Spring 2015 season.
Kane's business is privately owned and family operated. In addition to his role as president of Karen Kane, Kane's husband, Lonnie, currently serves as the Chairman of the California Fashion Association. Karen and Lonnie's older son, Michael, oversees the company's marketing and licensing, and younger son, Robert, designed a lined of t-shirts that appeared in the Summer 2010 collection of Karen by Karen Kane.
- "Lonnie Kane". LA Weekly (Los Angeles). August 12, 2008.
- "Fashion Brand Spotlight: Michael Kane, Director of Marketing at Karen Kane". PR Couture (Los Angeles). January 31, 2013.
- "And the winners are…". Morning News (Dallas). October 30, 2006.
- "Brand Spotlight: Karen Kane". Belk Blog (Charlotte). July 20, 2011.
- "Karen Kane Designs the Hugely Successful Clothing Line That Bears Her Name". FIDM (Los Angeles). 1999.
- "Karen Kane". AACC (Los Angeles). 2000.
- "Fashion Design Profiles on Alumni, Faculty, and Students". FIDM Alumni Stories (Los Angeles). 2011.
- "Interview with Karen Kane". YouLookFab (Seattle). February 14, 2011.
- "'Designers Discuss: The Obama Admin's "Made In The USA" Campaign'". Fashion Week Daily. April 5, 2012.
- "Los Angeles firms bring apparel jobs home on cost concerns". Reuters. July 1, 2011.
- "'Made in America' trend hits LA apparel maker". ABC News. March 2, 2012.
- "'Some apparel manufacturing 'reshoring' to USA'". USA Today. July 3, 2013.
- "Karen Kane Company History". Karen Kane (Los Angeles). July 1, 2011.
- "'Homed In'". Los Angeles Business Journal. July 15, 2013.
- "Red 23: New Line from Karen Kane" (PDF). California Apparel News (Los Angeles). April 1–7, 2011.
- "Karen Kane Selects IMG Licensing to Help Cultivate the Brand Beyond Successful Apparel Line". Wall Street Journal (New York). June 10, 2013.
- "Q&A: Designer Karen Kane on style, balancing work and family". The Arizona Republic (Phoenix). March 20, 2012.
- "Karen Kane the Family Business". YouLookFab (Seattle). June 28, 2011.