An iconic fashion designer and founder of The Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan keeps to a hectic schedule that, on top of everything else, involves travelling to Haiti once a month to work with artisans as part of the Million Hearts for Haiti campaign.
Adding a creative touch to the campaign, The Urban Zen Foundation asks that people purchase and then decorate a heart for Haiti so as to donate to the cause while also spreading the message. On a whistle-stop tour to promote the campaign, Donna Karan found the time to chat to InStyle about the Million Hearts for Haiti, as well as DKNY girl, Twilight star Ashley Greene and what she’ll be giving this Christmas.
This is an innovative spin on the Million Hearts for Haiti campaign, how was the idea brought about?
Well it started about two years ago when I went to Haiti and the Million Hearts for Haiti campaign was founded. DKNY and Donna Karan speaks to so many customers and it was a question of scaling, making it happen and really putting it out there. What you can do with the heart is paint it and the money goes back to Haiti to rebuild a country that really needs a lot of help. I work with the artisans in Haiti and, through Urban Zen, I’ve been going there about once a month since the earthquake. I really work with the artisans to help create jobs. It’s an amazing creative experience for me. It’s about really getting my hands dirty.
Can you describe the heart you’ve painted?
I’ve been painting hearts now for a year!
How do you find time for your charity work in between your fashion commitments?
Well Donna Karan and DKNY is something I started a long time ago. It’s got a team, it’s got great people with it. They are like my children who have grown up and Urban Zen is my baby. I’m still very involved in DKNY and Donna Karan but it doesn’t need every single ounce of my blood.
What did you of think of Ashley Greene wearing Donna Karan at the Twilight premiere in LA?
She looked beautiful. She always does.
Are you more a fan of Spring/Summer or Autumn/Winter?
I like season-less dressing!
What is on your Christmas gift list?
Tobacco leaves are very important to me for multiple reasons. One is trying to work out how to use tobacco in an intelligent way, rather than smoking it. The tobacco leaf vases are fantastic. It’s about bringing an awareness, telling somebody you love to care, to care for somebody else. It’s quite amazing.
Find out more about The Million Hearts for Haiti campaign here
By Sarah Smith