NEW YORK — Donna Karan needed “not one second” to commit to hosting Tuesday night’s Not One More anti-gun violence event at Urban Zen and only six weeks to produce the black leather bracelets that were launched.
“This is probably the most meaningful change that must occur right now,” the designer told a crowd that included her cohost, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Lise Evans, as well as former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Richard Martinez, whose 20-year-old son was killed last May near the UC Santa Barbara’s campus.
To try to sell more than one million bracelets, the $30 version will be sold at Urban Zen stores and its Web site and at DKNY’s Madison Avenue flagship. The $25 one will be available with a donation of at least that amount to Everytown for Gun Safety via the Not One More Web site. To help spread the word, Karan will give some to models backstage at her fall runway shows.
When Evans, an Urban Zen board member, asked for her support, Karan said she knew Urban Zen’s Haiti Artisan Project was the only place that could turn around thousands of bracelets so quickly.
Giffords, who was critically wounded with a gunshot to the head while speaking with voters in Tucson in 2011, told Aerin Lauder, Joanna Coles and other guests, “Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, to be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone, we need to never stop fighting. Fight, fight. Be bold. Be courageous. Our nation is counting on you.”
As a financial supporter for Everytown for Gun Safety, which organized the Not One More fundraiser with Urban Zen and the Giffords-backed Americans for Responsible Solutions, Bloomberg noted that 86 people die in the U.S. each day due to gun violence. Outspoken about gun violence prevention, just last week the former mayor was criticized after suggesting male minorities between the ages of 15 and 25 should be banned from gun ownership during a speech at The Aspen Institute. He said Tuesday, “Since Congress has failed to act, we are taking action on our own.”
Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut who flew four NASA missions, said Karan’s involvement was essential. “Who is better at marketing something to wear than Donna Karan? It’s important to bring awareness. We don’t want the awareness on this issue to be every mass shooting.”
For those who always wondered what space flight is like, he said, “It is the best thing ever. You can’t compare it to anything else — just to be in the air seeing the earth as a big, round ball floating. The whole thing, the weightlessness, the rocket launch — you go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour in eight and a half minutes.”