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Jane Chung launches own label

By Kristopher Fraser


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Jane Chung might not be a household name, but she was the other half of the force behind one of the most iconic labels in America, DKNY. Chung is DKNY's other founding designer who helped Donna Karan build one of the most major international brands in the world. She worked side-by-side with Karan until the departure of the iconic businesswoman and designer from the brand last summer.

Chung has now developed her own project called Summa. She began working on the collection in her Flatiron loft, and she will show the collection to retailers this week. Rather than launching for resort, the collection she will be debuting to editors and buyers is for fall 2016. Because she has no big expectations for this collection, Chung has dubbed it her "portfolio" collection.

After taking a break from fashion when she left DKNY, Chung began visiting factories in Europe and was inspired to do something new. Karan continued her role as close advisor to her, a relationship that began back when Karan worked at Parsons as a faculty advisor and Chung was a student.

The majority of Chung's line is black and white, and was made in Italy. Pieces include coats, dresses, pants, and crisp white shirts in tony cashmeres, wools, and fine cottons. While a line sheet has not been set in stone with price points yet, Chung has ballparked 4000 dollars for items like cashmere coats.

Her "portfolio" collection also includes shoes and bags.

After two plus decades with Donna Karan, WWD asked how she has been able to define her own aesthetic as separate from that of Karan’s. She noted that at DKNY, Karan allowed her to “have my voice. It was an amazing experience, I learned everything.” She does offer snippets of contrast: she’s more architectural, Karan more drapey; she’s more into flashes of fanciful color (a point not currently evidenced in the clothes.)"

Chung's challenge right now is capturing the attention of the retailers, but as the other reason DKNY became what it was, she should have no problem doing so.

Jane Chung