Leah Kelemen is a Women’s Post contributor and budding fashionista.
As the great granddaughter of the motorcycle legend William G. Davidson – known for the highly successful company Harley Davidson – there was no doubt that Karen Davidson would become a prodigy herself.
Being surrounded by motorcycles during her upbringing, and having prototypes of the company’s latest inventions constantly surrounding her, there was a clear path towards motor sports in her future. Beginning to ride at the tender age of nine, Karen was ready to take women’s riding to the next level.
Davidson had no plan of working for the family company until a great opportunity came knocking at her door. As a fashion design graduate and after working in the industry for many years, Karen was offered the position of Creative Director, General Merchandise for Harley Davidson Motor Company in 1989. As Karen entered the fashion scene atDavidson, she became the mastermind behind their leather collections and accessories for the newly introduced brand MotorClothes. To salute her great accomplishments, Karen was awarded an industry award by the Council of Fashion Designers of New York for her fashion influence in 1991.
The amount of women giving riding a try is remarkable. There has been an increase in the number of women on motorcycles today as compared with years ago, and Karen and Harley Davidson Motor Company are to thank. With their continued initiatives and events geared towards women learning more about riding, it grants women the ability to gain that sense of empowerment to do whatever they wish. This supports that paradigm shift – it is no longer a man’s world – and Karen surely agrees with that. She encourages women to learn more about riding and be the influencers. “It’s all about freedom and venture,” says Davidson.
When asked how she has gone about marketing Davidson towards women, Karen replies, “I wanted to reshape Harley Davidson apparel with a combination of form, fit, and function with the addition of colour and graphics.” Karen adds she is greatly influenced by women riders when designing new merchandise as these women are the ones whom represent the feminine side of the brand. “I’m also very much influenced by the more technical side of designing with new fabrications and embellished treatments,” Karen continues.
Davidson’s creations have steered clear of the typical stereotype of female riders from being “butch” and have been broadened to appeal to all women. As always, the colour pink is the definition of pure femininity and has further been incorporated into the women’s side of the brand. Pink Label was introduced as a charitable sector of MotorClothes with a percentage of all proceeds donated to breast cancer research.
The consumers of MotorClothes are 100 per cent behind the product and are very loyal to the brand, witness when in only one day, 1,800 jackets were sold; pure customer loyalty at its finest.
Not only do the consumers of Harley Davidson stay devoted to the brand, but they also continue to show support by attending charitable functions held by the company such as the upcoming 2nd annualPrecious Metal Gala. This exciting event is in partnership with Rethink Breast Cancer and boasts everything that has to do with women and riding while raising awareness and donations for the organization. This exhilarating evening allows women to learn about motorcycling from a feminine perspective and to participate in interactive activities like starring in your very own adventuring riding scene.
“I want women to be inspired by other women and for them to encourage one another to try riding out,” says Davidson. She looks at this event as being inspirational for women because it allows them to ask each other questions and socially network.
A final word from Karen, “If you’re curious about riding, there is only one thing to tell yourself: If they can do it, I can do it!”
The Precious Metal Gala will be held May 11 in Toronto’s Distillery District. Go to GarageParty.ca to learn more about this invigorating evening just for women.