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donna karan

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Armani, Diane von Furstenberg, Christian Louboutin, Donna Karen, Marc Jacobs, Karen Millen; Imagine these iconic designer labels being within your grasp?

Luckily for you, Dress for Success Dublin are having a flash fashion sale this Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22, and legendary brands are up for grabs.

The charity supports women who are hoping to achieve economic independence, offering them clothing needed to attend job interviews and employer meetings, among other uses.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Their annual Flash Fashion Sale will take place at the organisation's Smithfield offices at 4 Ellis Quay, Dublin 7. 

Bargain-hunters can discover pre-loved and brand-new items, shoes, bags, accessories and threads for a fraction of their former retail price.

Their incredible designer rail will feature pieces from amazing designers, with proceeds going straight into Dress for Success Dublin's valuable work to empower women.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Sonya Lennon, designer, broadcaster, entrepreneur and brilliant founder of Dress for Success Dublin, described the high-quality clothes on offer;

“Our annual Flash Fashion Sale is a must for fashion-loving bargain-hunters. This year, once again, we’ve some unbelievable designer items – going for a mere fraction of their original cost. In fact, the majority of pieces are being priced at €5 and below. 

“We’re running the sale at our Ellis Quay premises over two days next week. I’d advise you to get there early to get the best deals.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She elaborated on the hugely important contribution which the flash sale will make to Dress for Success Dublin’s work.

“By supporting the sale, you’re helping us support more women back to work and enabling us to continue the work we do campaigning at all levels of government and industry to make the workforce a more equitable place,” she said.  

“All items on offer in the sale have been donated to Dress for Success Dublin, and all money raised will go to supporting our work.”

For further information about Dress for Success Dublin’s Flash Fashion Sale, check out their website. The sale will be running from midday until 4pm on Saturday, and midday until 3pm this Sunday.

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At seven, a middle-aged man slid a clammy hand up the back of my T-shirt while I waited at the sweet counter in my local supermarket, and left it there while I squirmed and wriggled from beneath his grasp.

At 11, a young man, wearing a pair of shorts and no underwear, chose to bend over in front of myself and my friend in an effort to purposely expose his genitals to us.

That same man watched us slip through a purpose-built walkway in a cul de sac, got into his car and disappeared from view only to reappear at the other end of the cul de sac, and repeat the lewd action.

While these instances are seared into my memory due to the confusion I felt at the time, they didn’t colour my perception of men, as a whole.

I considered them an anomaly, and thankfully in my life, they were.

I grew up surrounded by men who cared for and protected me, and my gut reaction to these instances was the belief that these men had a choice to do (or not do) what they did.

These two individuals did not represent the male community as I knew it.

As a child, I identified that there were dozens of grown men in the supermarket on that occasion who chose not to invade my personal space or make me feel ‘squirmy and embarrassed’ by the unwelcome touch of their hand.

There were dozens of teenage boys and young men whose paths I crossed on a daily basis who chose not to expose themselves to me like that guy in the 'weird red short shorts' did.

As a child I knew I had choices, and as far as I was concerned, adults had even more. And it was up to them to make the right one.

On those two occasions, they didn’t. And that was not my fault.

This is a concept Donna Karan appeared to struggle with when recently faced with questions regarding Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment of numerous women.

"How do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women?” she asked. “What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

By suggesting that men are unable to contain their sexual desires at the mere presence of a female (scantily-clad or not), is offensive to millions of men.

If it all comes down to what we’re wearing, then what about the young man who saw me waiting for a taxi in the early hours of the morning, wearing just a string top and mini skirt, using my arms to shield myself from the wind?

Why did he choose to ensure I got home safely by sacrificing his seat in a taxi?

Seeing me clearly drunk and tottering on heels at a relatively deserted street corner, he asked the driver to stop and take me instead.

While I settled into the backseat of the taxi, he made his way to the corner I had just left and waited to hail himself another one.

By Donna Karan and George Hook’s estimations, my ensemble and alcohol intake meant I was prime fodder for unwanted sexual advances that evening.

But here’s the thing; I didn’t fall victim because the man I encountered chose not to commit a crime.

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For some of us, it was tempting to simply shake our heads in disbelief, and move on.

For more of us, it was preferable to console ourselves with the notion that her words were taken out of context, before desperately quelling any emerging fears that they weren’t.

But we can’t.

To ignore Donna Karan’s recent remarks on the supposed culpability of women who find themselves the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault makes us complicit.

Speaking at the CinéFashion Film Awards on Sunday, the 69-year-old fashion designer defended Harvey Weinstein against recent allegations of sexual harassment.

“To see it here in our own country is very difficult, but I also think how do we display ourselves? How do we present ourselves as women?” she asked.

“What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?”

The answer to that, Donna, is no. 

Quick word in your ear; if we accept – on any level – that a woman’s choice of clothing determines whether she will fall victim to the actions of a rapist, we – quite simply – absolve the rapist of his responsibility.

But with Donna Karan’s remarks coming only weeks after George Hook’s, it can feel like we’re fighting a losing battle –  a battle where victims are forced to question how they could have changed the outcome of another person’s intentions.

Yes, it is massively frustrating and hugely disheartening to find ourselves constantly challenging the victim-blaming narrative, but we have to.

For every child whose cartoon-emblazoned pyjamas didn’t stop the actions of a rapist.

For every teen whose school jumper and tracksuit bottoms didn’t deter that violent stranger.

For every young woman whose favourite Saturday night dress was not an invitation.

For every middle-aged woman whose tired work uniform didn’t prevent her rape.

And for every octogenarian whose dressing gown didn’t dissuade that intruder.

So, in case you didn’t hear it the first 27,000 times, women are not responsible for the actions of men.

And for those out there, who suggest we simply dismiss Donna Karan’s remarks as the utterings of a deluded 69-year-old woman, with little cognisance of the effect her words can have, unfortunately it’s not an option.

We have to see them for how dangerous they really are, and we have to accept that when these hideously offensive remarks are made by a woman, the fall-out can be even more catastrophic.

So once again, lest we forget, for every one victim-blaming sentiment, one rapist is being given a ‘free pass’.

Donna, clothes don't make a rapist.

And how we 'present ourselves as women' is inconsequential while how we celebrate 'sensuality and sexuality' is beside the point.

If a man makes the decision to harass, assault or rape a woman, the clothes on her back is the last thing on their mind. 

And it should be the last on yours.

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The news broke late yesterday evening that Donna Karen is stepping down from her role as Chief Designer of the fashion brand she founded more than three decades ago.

In 1984, Donna launched her label DKI (Donna Karan International) with husband Stephen Weiss and later, in 1988, she launched DKNY, a label we all know and love today.

In 2001, LVMH, the world leader of luxury brands, bought up DKI, although Karan herself remained hugely influential in the capacity of Chief Designer

The New Yorker became famous for her alternative thinking when she first launched her label, creating designs no one had previously explored. At the time women were only beginning to climb the corporate ladder and – they wanted to have the attire to match. Karan made a big impact when she launched practical, layer-able and most of all, feminine pieces. 

For the time being, there is no immediate successor and, in fact, the label's fashion shows will be put on a temporary hiatus. 

We just hope the label doesn't suffer and is still able to stay in competition with the likes of Calvin Klien and Ralph Lauren.

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