Toni Garrn is known as one of the most gorgeous blondes in the fashion business but she's also using her position as a top model to make the world a better place. Tomorrow Garrn is hosting a closet sale where she's offering up years worth of high fashion goodies from her own closet as well as those of friends like Kasia Struss, Suki Waterhouse and Christy Turlington. The sale is in conjunction with Plan International and the proceeds will go to support women and girls' education in the West African nation of Burkina Faso, which Garrn visited last year. The sale is 1-5 pm at Spring Studios, 6 St. John's Lane in Tribeca. We spoke to Garrn about how she got involved with the organization and what we can expect to find at the sale.
How did you come together with Plan International and how was Burkina Faso chosen as the beneficiary of the sale? Have you worked with the charity before?
I was looking for an NGO that was focusing on children's needs and especially girls and which is based in Germany as well as in the US. Since I started supporting Plan International when I was 16, by sponsoring a girl in Vietnam, it was soon clear that a cooperation with Plan, which is based in my hometown Hamburg, Germany would be great. I have been trying to raise money for the Because I'm a Girl campaign since last year and I chose to support a project in Burkina Faso, West Africa, whose aim is to educate women to become teachers. I designed a jeans line last year with a label in Germany and profits went straight to the education of these women. I was able to increase the number of female teachers that received a scholarship by 30%. Still there's a big need for more teachers and we hope to raise a lot of money with this sale in order to support more girls in Africa.
Have you been to Africa? If so tell me about your trip.
Yes last year in June I went to Burkina. It was an incredible experience to talk to the girls going to school and listening to their needs and wishes for life, most of them never having seen a TV or a magazine. The most striking thing I saw and learned there was how immensely important the role of women can be in those cultures. They are the ones fighting to survive while taking care of dozens of babies. Having those women educated is the best way for a better future for third world countries. I can't wait to go back -- this year I'll most likely go to Zimbabwe, because Burkina Faso lies in the region where Ebola broke out.
Was it hard getting rid of things from your closet for the sale? Are you a big shopper? Do you have a particular shopping weakness?
I've been collecting clothes for a cause like this since I started modeling. I've had suitcases packed in my apartment in Hamburg and NYC for a long time. It feels like I'm giving half my closet away now, which is great because I love shopping so now I have more room to do so.
Can you tell me about some of your favorite things that you're selling?
I've got some really nice leather jackets, a few beautiful evening gowns. There's a [donated] silky, long beige Balenciaga evening dress that I may buy myself. We have Balmain outfits. We have a lot of leather bags that Christy Turlington gave me. Also a huge amount of very fun high heels, from Miu Miu and Guiseppe Zanotti.
Who else will be donating clothes for the sale?
I've gotten an incredible amount of donations from almost all my girlfriends including Kasia Struss, Karlie Kloss, Suki Waterhouse, Constance Jablonski, Christy Turlington and many more and still donating. Anyone is welcome to help!