Kay Unger is an American fashion designer best known for, as she calls it: “covering the a–es of the masses” with affordable dresses that don’t sacrifice quality.
Over the years, Unger has stayed true to this mantra, and after making various career pivots, first designing under Geoffrey Beene and Traina Boutique. Now, Unger is back (following a stint wherein her company went bankrupt due to the misgivings of a prior business partner), now serving as chief executive officer of Kay Unger Design.
The designer got her career started at Parsons, graduating in 1968. But today her ties to The New School are more vibrant than ever. Entering into her “second act” of philanthropy, she serves as chair of the board of governors at Parsons and Trustee of the New School since 2013.
This Parsons passion was on full display when WWD joined Unger at the Marni SoHo store for jewelry-making in which 10 percent of proceeds from sales directly benefit the college, but that’s just a typical Saturday for Unger. When she’s not convening friends in the industry or hosting fundraisers, the 74-year-old Unger doesn’t miss a beat, exploring events in the city. She expressed her recent enjoyment of the New York City Ballet Fall Fashion Gala Retrospective at the Intersect by Lexus space in Chelsea.
This podcast was recorded in her SoHo loft, where it’s clear that prints are a priority as seen in the textiles covering her person and apartment. And unsurprisingly, Unger’s love for color and prints directly correlate with her personality.
But how do hybrid designers, entrepreneurs and philanthropists such as herself continue to have relevancy in this industry, and more importantly, how did Unger build her business prowess?
Listen to WWD’s first podcast episode here.
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