Public School Designers to take on DKNY while Hector Muelas named Chief Image Officer of Donna Karan International
By Kenneth Richard | The Impressionist
Just three short months after taking office as CEO of Donna Karan International, Caroline Brown has on-boarded new design and marketing leadership to help the global design house chart a path toward growth. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, founders and creative directors of the New York’s fashionable downtown brand Public School, have been tapped as the new creative directors of DKNY. Hector Muelas, creative director of worldwide marketing communications of Apple Inc., has been appointed to the newly created role of chief image officer at DKI.
Chow and Osborne founded Public School in 2008 as a design house that merged high end fashion with urban sensibilities, a look that bodes well for the like-minded DKNY brand. The duo met while working at Sean John and after launching Public School, became part of CFDA’s incubator program. Accolades followed, including the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2013, the CFDA Award for Menswear Design in 2014, and their current nominations for the CFDA Award for Menswear and the Swarovski Award for Womenswear this year.
The duo will report to Brown and be in charge of all DKNY collections while splitting their time between both DKNY and Public School. Mary Wang continues as president of DKNY. Their first collection will be womenswear and unveiled during New York Fashion Week in September.
Donna Karan will continue her role as the creative director of Donna Karan Collection and support DKNY in an advisory role. Jane Chung, EVP of Design at DKNY, who has been with the brand since it launched in 1989, will be transitioning out of the brand over the next month and her future role at DKI has not been determined.
We both grew up in New York and DKNY has always been part of the landscape of this city in our formative years as designers and as New Yorkers. It is one of the brands that helped change the game for us and for American fashion. It evokes everything our city was always about — energy, disruption, new thinking and transcending all boundaries. We are extremely proud and excited to be joining the company and to contribute to the next chapter of DKNY, one of the most iconic American brands created by Donna Karan, a true inspiration.
On the marketing front, Muelas will also report to Brown and will be in charge of all areas of brand image, marketing, creative services, digital platforms and e-commerce for all DKI. Previously, Muelas was creative director of worldwide marketing communications for Apple, where he most recently led the global brand marketing initiatives for Apple Watch. Prior to Apple, Mulas held executive and creative posts at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles and Wieden + Kennedy in Amsterdam, where he developed creative campaigns for such brands as Nike and Coca-Cola.
Current EVP of Global Marketing and Communications, Patti Cohen, will become EVP of Global Public Relations and Communications at DKI.
Muelas will continue to partner with known DKI ad agency, Laird + Partners, and founder, CEO, Chief Creative Officer Trey Laird, whose agency’s work for the house has helped drive Donna Karan and DKNY to become globally recognized brands.