“When I begin to worry, I have to remind myself: Be here now. And, lately: Age is only a number.”
Born in Cleveland in 1945, Donna studied commercial art in LA. After some stints in advertising and working as a flight attendant, she met her husband, the artist Peter Shire. And after 42 years of what she calls “a wild and hairy roller coaster with this sweet, funny, complicated, sometimes cranky man,” they remain happily married.
Could you describe a typical day in your life?
“My day begins stretching the kinks out of my body, which makes it possible for my limbs to function without aches. When I arrive at the studio, I scroll through emails and answer, bookkeep, make lunches, archive, file, wash dishes (not so often these days—whew!), tend to our clients.”
What's your own personal motto/mantra?
“When I begin to worry, I have to remind myself: Be here now (Baba Ram Dass). And lately: Age is only a number.”
How would you describe your own personal style?
“My mother—a fantastic seamstress a fashion hound—made a great part of my clothing for many years. She’d sew faux Chanel suits for me. I wore them to school with low heels, because that is what I had. I also had dirndl skirts and Peter Pan collar blouses to go with them (I call it the Alice in Wonderland look). I wore saddle shoes with them. But I was also aware of the burgeoning hippie movement of the ’60s, and loved the relaxed look and recycling of clothing. My girlfriend said I was confusing because I didn't have a style. But I didn't want to fit into a particular style; I loved it all, and wore what I wore depending on what I felt a particular day. When I first met Peter, I dressed in many colors. My family thought I was morphing into Peter, so I began to dress in black, white and greys. It was also easier to dress each morning. Revolving uniforms. My personal style? I don't know. Comfort.”
Who (or what) inspires you the most?
“Peter has been a great inspiration. I wouldn't be reading or doing half the things that I do; however, I do have to remind myself not to morph into Peter.”
What are your favorite American Apparel items?
“Tees, the boxier the better. (I don't link formfitting… comfort). And in the earlier days there use to be a straight maxi skirt. I love the ability to mix and match style and shapes. And I love the little tees for little dogs.”
To learn more about Donna, follow her @donnaokeya