Birthplace: Dallas, Texas
Award: Dallas Designer Sportswear Award, 1991
Dana Buchman was named vice president of design for the Buchman division of Liz Claiborne, Inc., in 1987. This signature collection was created for working women who wanted fashionable dress but were concerned about professionalism and comfort. In 1989 Karen Harman was brought on as vice president of design and codesigner for the Buchman division and, in 1990, Gail Cook was made president of the Buchman division. Together, these three women drew upon their everyday lives to create a line of fashionable, functional pieces targeted to the working woman.
The immediate success of the signature line lead Buchman to create a petite division in 1990 and a plus-size division in 1994 to appeal to a broader audience and gain more representation in the marketplace. Buchman was the first bridge designer to develop a woman's sportswear plus-size division. That same year Buchman opened her first boutique in New York which displayed her signature and petite lines and provided an opportunity for ordering her plus-size line. The boutique focused on customer service by offering alterations and special events geared toward their customers.
Buchman developed a secondary line in 1995 to provide a broader range of the American women's workforce with the wardrobes they needed at a lower price point. The line, Dana B. and Karen, was named after Dana Buchman and her codesigner, Karen Harman. The line offered women a relaxed, but still professional, look and was available in stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The Buchman division used various avenues to advertise their lines. They regularly advertised in such magazines as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and W
and utilized outdoor and co-op advertising venues. Buchman and Harman were also known for their occasional in-store appearances which helped them stay in tune with the needs of their customers. Another promotional tool used for marketing was the film Women in Motion, which depicts the process behind the creation of the 1997 Buchman line. The promotional film was shown in theaters and in retail stores. The Buchman line was further brought to prominence when such notable personalities as Tipper Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton were seen sporting Buchman ensembles in the early nineties.
Buchman continued to expand into other product lines including a fragrance in 1995, a sunglass line licensed by Bausch and Lomb in 1998, and small leather goods and handbags. The Dana Buchman bridge lines and accessories were available in departments stores or in Dana Buchman's freestanding stores. Buchman, like Ellen Tracy, designs with real women in mind. Her collections are fashionable, yet always professional, designed to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing market segment of professional women. See also: Ellen Tracy.
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