Kent State Fashion School Hall of Fame to Induct Don Witkowski, Michael Kors Executive
The Fashion School at Kent State University has named Don Witkowski, a Kent State alumnus and President of Men’s at Michael Kors, as its 2017 Hall of Fame Inductee. Previous inductees include Estee Lauder, Elsa Klensch, Allen Questrom, Michael Weiss, Ralph Rucci, Oscar de la Renta, Leonardo Ferragamo, Dana Buchman and Josie Natori.
“Don Witkowski is a humble yet amazingly impactful force in menswear,” said J.R. Campbell, Fashion School director. “His leadership roles at Donna Karan, Nautica, John Varvatos and Michael Kors prove that he is an active and much-sought contributor to successful brands. Those who have worked with Don speak about his ability to get things done in high-productivity, high-stress environments. He is an excellent example of the ethos of Kent State University.”
Witkowski’s induction will take place Saturday, April 29 at the Fashion School’s Rockwell Hall as part of FS2 Presented by Michael Kors, the school’s Annual Fashion Show. The induction ceremony coincides with that evening’s Sponsor/VIP Show. Event tickets are $250 and include a donation to the Fashion School scholarship fund; access to the VIP reception, Hall of Fame induction and Saturday night show; a show catalog; and special recognition in the show program and catalog. For more information and to purchase Sponsor/VIP Show tickets, visit www.kent.edu/fashion/annual-fashion-show.
Don Witkowski will also give a free, public lecture at noon on Friday, April 28 in the Rockwell Hall Auditorium. The lecture precedes the Annual Fashion Show’s 2 p.m. Matinee and 7 p.m. Awards Show. Tickets for these performances go on sale beginning March 20.
UPDATE, 4/27: Don Witkowski's public lecture has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts. Witkowski will still attend the induction ceremony as planned.
About Don Witkowski
Don Witkowski is the President of the Men’s division at Michael Kors, where he oversees the global expansion of the Michael Kors men’s business. He is an industry-recognized executive with over 25 years of experience in fashion. Through his leadership and passion for merchandising, he has built and guided several of the world’s largest retail and wholesale enterprises.
Mr. Witkowski is a native of Cleveland and was a psychology major at Kent State University. While at Kent State, he worked seasonally for May Company Department Stores, and upon graduation was offered a position in the buyer training program. After five years at May Company, news of his talent traveled to Barney’s New York. The famed New York department store approached him to move to New York and become a buyer. He remained there for several years, working under the Pressman family, gaining a vast knowledge of the fashion merchandising and retail business. Following his career at Barneys, he left the retail side of the industry to learn the wholesale business. He served as Vice President of Men’s Sales and Merchandising at Calvin Klein for three years before being asked to rejoin Barney’s as the Vice President and Divisional Merchandise Manager of Men’s Sportswear and Tailored Clothing. While at Barney’s, he helped with the expansion of the Madison Avenue and Beverly Hills locations.
After his second position at Barney’s, Mr. Witkowski was approached by Mindy Grossman (HSN, Nike, Ralph Lauren) to launch Polo Jeans, one of the first designer denim companies in the industry. His success at Polo Jeans led him to become President of Men’s at Donna Karan International, where he led Donna Karan Men’s Collection, DKNY Men’s, and men’s and women’s jeans in Europe. Following his tenure at Donna Karan, he served as President of Nautica before becoming the President of Men’s at Michael Kors.
After two years with Michael Kors, Mr. Witkowski started his own consulting firm, Kona Consult Inc. (named for his love of Hawaii). Specializing in solution-based merchandising and product launches, Kona Consult contributed to top brands around the world. Some of his notable clients included Giorgio Armani, James Perse, Elie Tahari, Miss Sixty and Stetson. John Varvatos hired him as Vice President of Merchandising, a position he held for five years, helping develop John Varvatos Collection and Star U.S.A.
Following his time at John Varvatos, Mr. Witkowski was asked to rejoin Michael Kors as President of Men’s. Working closely with his team of designers, merchandisers, sourcing and sales experts, Mr. Witkowski is helping to lead the global growth of the Michael Kors Men’s Division.
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