Fashion Psychology Success [Interview][Transcript]

Dawnn_Karen_Fashion_Psychology_SuccessGuest: Dawnn Karen
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dawnn Karen is a New York City-based professional, Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the pioneering mind behind the global field of Fashion Psychology™. Years ago, while pursuing an M.A. in counseling psychology at Columbia University, she received the inspiration to create the dynamic field of Fashion Psychology™. Fashion Psychology™ is a newly applied academic discipline focused on the study and treatment of color and fashion and its effects on human behavior while addressing cultural sensitivities and cultural norms.

Segment overview: Dawnn Karen discusses her professional service, Fashion Psychology Success, and the types of service offered.


Health Professional Radio – Fashion Psychology Success

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Ms. Dwann Karen, she is based at New York and she is a pioneering factor in a brand new global field known as Fashion Psychology. Now specializes in styling from the inside out by bridging the gap between perception and reality. At her Fashion Psychology success, her company offers professional services and she’s here today to talk about some of those services as a Fashion Psychologist. How are you this afternoon Dawnn?

Dwann Karen I’m doing very, very great.

N: Thank you. Thank you so much for lending us some of your time. As a Fashion Psychologist, let our listeners know what Fashion Psychology is so that we can maybe clear up some misconceptions that we have at least about the word Fashion and as it’s applied to Psychology.

D: Yes. So I define fashion psychology as the study of color, image, style and fashion, how it affects human behavior while addressing cultural norms and cultural sensitivities.

N: You say that you specialize in designing or styling people from the inside out. So we’re not just talking about just the clothes that we’re wearing, you’re also helping us out with how we wear those clothes and why we wear those clothes. Is that correct?

D: Yes. It’s correct, I couldn’t say it better myself.

N: So talk about, well talk about the Fashion Psychology Institute where you teach some of your concepts and theories and also talk about Fashion Psychology success.

D: Yes. So Fashion Psychology Institute, it’s an online institution seemingly because I’ve had several prospective students asks me, how can I become a Fashion Psychologist and although I’m a professor and I teach Fashion Psychology at the Fashion Institute of Technology, sometimes students they can’t afford to come to New York and study at this school. So, like I said I created the Fashion Psychology Institute and everything’s online. So it’s pretty feasible and I think it’s forward thinking and then Fashion Psychology Success is a consultancy. I choose to say consultancy over practice just because I’m trained in counseling and I’ve pioneer the field, I’m not licensed in counseling. So, again I got my Degrees from Columbia University in Counseling Psychology and Fashion Psychology Success I’ve done, I’ve worked with clients on relationships, as far as like travelling, as far as relationships it’s a, I more so talk about in interview that I did with the Wallstreet journal. And I had a client where the boyfriend begin to get buff and get toned and he changed his appearance drastically from when they were an item and the lady felt someone insecure with this change and I worked with them on how to make her feel more secure in the relationship with this change. That’s an example of how Fashion Psychology could be used. What I do as far as Fashion Psychology Success, as far as another service is concerned, International Travelling, so a lot of people when they travel I found out, because I was stationed in the Middle East, that a lot of foreigners don’t know what to wear, they may disrespect the culture by wearing some shorter attire and maybe they don’t care because they’re visiting but my thing is to seemingly help them respect the culture. So whether you wear some manners or some behaviors what’s appropriate for the culture without, you don’t want to shame yourself or be disrespectful.

N: Now you’ve been travelling to quite a few foreign countries. You gave an example of a relationship issue where one partner was taking on this, I guess for lack of a better term, positive change while the other partner either began to become negative in appearance or remained the same and anyway there was insecurity involved on one of the partner’s part. When you’re in other countries, do you find that there is more focus on cultural issues as they pertain to what a person wears, when and why? Or more personal, people trying to land that job or be better in that career or as you say be better in a personal relationship when it comes to travelling abroad?

D: Yes. So what I found out more so in the western world it’s all about the individual and the Eastern part of the world it’s more about the collective. So you’ll find, I was stationed in Kuwait, for instance there were some, I don’t want to say it’s an issue but just a concern with the client wanted to dress more western because all of the stores that we have here are there. So it’s not any different but still she wanted to remain true to her culture and how do you navigate that, how do you do that? Does that mean when you’re in your country you wear your hijab or your abaya and then you travel to, I don’t know, London you wear more western dress, you take the abaya off? How do you navigate that? So like I said that in the Eastern part of world, it’s more collective issues rather in the Western part of the world it’s more personal, how do you land that job? So, yeah, and that’s why I added the component instead of just saying how color, image, style, fashion affects human behavior. When we add this cultural piece of it, seemingly because when I was travelling, how people express their fashion is very different from culture to culture and it will be very naïve of me or very, I don’t know vain of me to think, yeah presumptuous to think that “Oh American or Western ways apply to every country.” So at Columbia, as far as my counseling psychology training is concerned, we actually really separate it just from each culture, “Okay, how does this culture think about psychology? How that culture think about psychology and what does that look like?” So that’s a part of my training and I just brought it to the field of fashion Psychology.

N: I’m sure you were in absolutely huge industry known as the Fashion industry. How much does design play a part when you are developing theories or breaking theories down? Maybe shattering some misconceptions about fashion and the design of fashion. I’ve seen some runway activity and sometimes it’s pretty bizarre.

D: Yeah. So you quoted I style from the inside out, there’s other piece of this… styling from the inside out by bridging the gap between perception and reality. So, what I do when you see the fashion industry or down the runway, there may be some things that you would not be caught dead in it. And it’s really more so of an individual basis, individual preference, where you’re going, who’re you going with, do you have enough confidence to wear that, to deal with one’s perception of you that they maybe be staring because maybe you have a big bird costume on? I don’t know. But, or it’s your reality, can you actually uphold that? So that’s bridging the gap between perceptions of reality piece. So, the fashion industry, it really determines trends but also with a little bit of consumer behavior psychology. We determine trends as well because you see something and you like it and several people take hold of it, it’s simply a trend and maybe that trend was not predicted by the fashion industries. So what we teach in fashion psychology is knowingly that the designer has say so over the power but also the consumer has the power as well.

N: Talk about your web presence, Fashion Psychology success. When we visit that website,, what would we expect to find there? Blogs? Tips, tricks? Photos? What?

D: Yeah. So, I have a bunch of photos on and I have live events because I do a lot of speaking engagements, workshops. I’ve recently done something for fashion week at the Empire State building. So I do fashion psychology workshops for different industries: corporate, if it’s about relationships, so I do that a lot. So you’ll find my Fashion Psychology Institute and Fashion Psychology Success does have a charitable foundation that we support, children in Jamaica, so we have that. You’ll also find more about me, I guess that I am a Columbian Graduate, you’ll also find my media interviews so almost probably with … about 5 media interviews but almost every interview I’ve done in every country is posted on the site and you’ll see different commentary that I use, different relationships, jobs, anything you can think of that I can apply fashion psychology to. I even did an interview on Swarovski crystals, so that’s what basically you’ll find on the site and just photos of me so yeah.

N: Great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. It’s been a pleasure talking with Dawnn Karen this afternoon in studio, Fashion Psychologist and actually the Pioneering mind behind the field of Fashion Psychology, a truly global field as she’s has a presence in Kuwait, Thailand, Malaysia and many other places as well as here in the United States. Also having opened the Fashion Psychology Institute where her theories and her techniques are afforded to students who wish to become Fashion Psychologist. And we’ve been here also talking about Fashion Psychology Success, Dawnn’s business where she offers professional services as a Fashion Psychologist and the types of services that she’s offering that can be used by anyone. It’s been great having you here with us today.

D: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe through our podcast on iTunes.

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