TWELV Magazine sat down with Alida Boer in NYC to get to know the designer and better understand the intricacies of her designs and company’s mission.
Donna Karan: Million Hearts for Haiti Project
Designer Donna Karan is sending some love down to Haiti. A longtime benefactor of charity and healing efforts, as part of her Million Hearts for Haiti project the fashion doyenne recruited 150-odd designers including Zac Posen and Olivier Theyskens to decorate their own signature papier mâché hearts, to be auctioned off on an eBay store going live April 22. Proceeds from the hearts will go to benefit artisans and relief efforts in the Caribbean island nation.
“My heart is for Haiti, and to get everybody’s heart involved, each one showing their own creativity–which for me is what Haiti is really all about, Haiti is purely about creativity–to see [the designers] express their creativity,” Karan was quoted as saying in the blog Fashionista at the campaign’s kick-off party, held April 18 at her Urban Zen boutique—a brand itself born out of empathy.
Guiding her husband through a seven-year battle with lung cancer inspired Donna Karan to work to revamp how the healthcare industry approaches healing. Via her Urban Zen project, the fashion doyenne seeks to unite Western treatment with Eastern therapies to encompass both pain relief and healing. Beth Israel Hospital, located near the lower Manhattan hub of Union Square, launched an Urban Zen pilot project, to great response.
Karan has also spearheaded charity efforts in Haiti with the Clinton Global Initiative, helping local artists develop sustainable businesses, including with Haitian sculptor and painter Philippe Dodard, with whom she has collaborated on prints for her DKNY label and—bringing her heart campaign full circle-- papier mâché bags by Caribbean Craft, owned by Haitian Magalie and Joel Dresse.
“As a creative person… I have discovered a deep connection to Haiti, its people and its untapped potential,” Karan says in the third issue of TWELV. “I see so many similarities to my beloved Bali or what I call my ‘spiritual home’.”
By Anne Szustek