One of the most respected names in women’s apparel today, Karen Kane has become truly synonymous with style, comfort, and sophistication. That distinction comes from the brand’s namesake and chief designer.
After growing up in the small town of Santa Barbara, Karen moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and graduated two years later with a degree in fashion. After meeting her husband Lonnie, the pair launched Karen Kane, Inc. out of their garage in Studio City. With little more than a dream to work off of, they shipped their first collection in December 1979. By the time they were ready to begin production on their next collection, they realized that they would need more space to keep up with demand. Moving to a new space in Downtown LA, Karen and Lonnie continued to do all of their own sewing and manufacturing before finally finding contractors who could support their growing business.
As Karen’s company continued to expand, so too did her family. Today, she has two sons who live in Los Angeles and New York City. Her company has grown into a 130,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility in Vernon, California. Karen’s collections are featured in department stores and specialty boutiques nationwide. The Vernon office holds the company’s design, silk screening, research, pattern making, grading, cutting, and customer service departments. Two corporate showrooms in LA and New York assist with sales, as do many retail representatives across the country.
In recent years, Karen also launched a new line: Fifteen-Twenty. Named after her two sons’ birthdates, Fifteen-Twenty is a contemporary line currently sold exclusively to fashion-forward boutiques around the US. It has been worn by numerous celebrities, including Eva Longoria Parker, Marcia Cross, Katherine Heigl, Jessica Biel, Miley Cyrus, Audrina Patridge, Hilary Duff, and Lo Bosworth among others.
While trends have changed since Karen launched her first collection, her approach and personal philosophy toward fashion has never wavered. She designs with ease, luxury, and longevity in mind. Her inspiration comes from that which is closest to her soul – the California Coast she has long called her home, the city streets she and her co-workers navigate each day, and of course, her family. When asked about the qualities that define Karen, many of her colleagues and contemporaries quickly point out two things: her professional drive and personal sense of humility. This could be seen as early as high school when she won an award in for “Outstanding Tailoring” from the State of California. That award would be the first of many more – the prestigious FIDM Peacock Award for excellence in design upon graduation, two annual “Best Modern Wear Line” Dallas Fashion Awards, and a nomination for the Fashion Industry Guild’s “California Designer of the Year.” In 2000, her husband Lonnie also received an award of his own for “CEO of the Year” from Apparel Magazine (known at the time as Bobbin).
Karen is an active supporter of the LA Children’s Hospital, Cedars Sinai Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Cottage House. Incredibly proud of her alma mater, Karen remains very involved with FIDM and the “Karen Kane Scholarship” allows one student to realize their potential each year.
Karen and Lonnie currently reside in Los Angeles. In her spare time, Karen enjoys growing roses and vegetables in her garden, visiting her son and shopping in New York, exploring new boutiques in Los Angeles, and spending time with her family at home.