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Dana Buchman was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She attended Hutchison School as a young girl. Buchman graduated from Brown University and was a President's Fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design before earning an Advance Degree in Fashion at London's St. Martin's School of Art. After graduating, Dana Buchman became a creative head for Ellen Tracy.
In 1982, Dana Buchman was approached by American designer and executive Liz Claiborne and joined the corporation with a design job in knitwear. After five years with Liz Claiborne, Buchman started her eponymous bridge collection under the Liz Claiborne corporation.
Dana Buchman has been a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 1991, and is currently a board member of the CFDA.  She married her husband Tom Farber, a New York State judge, in 1985. They have two daughters Charlotte and Annie Rose. In 2006, Buchman co-authored "A Special Education: One Family's Journey Through the Maze of Learning Disabilities." Written with her daughter Charlotte, the book reveals Charlotte's struggle with her learning disabilities, as well as Buchman's own path to self-discovery. Buchman donated the profits from the book to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Buchman is a chair of the Advisory Council of Promise, a non-profit organization affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital that supports low-income children with learning disabilities. 
In 2008, Buchman announced that she would be discontinuing her higher priced line to design exclusively for Kohl's. In 2011, Liz Claiborne sold the Dana Buchman brand to Kohl's.