The #firstworldproblem of having too many clothes and too little space is one many of us can relate to—but for models, who are often paid in clothing (whether in addition to or in lieu of actual money) and who count fashion designers as their closest friends, the storage issue can get seriously dire.
Having stood behind many a willowy girl unloading bags of sample-size dresses at New York City consignment stores, I can attest to this—and so can Toni Garrn, who, at 24, has had nearly a decade-long career in the industry, working with brands ranging from Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein Jeans to Dior, Fendi, and Prada. Earlier this year, Garrn founded an eponymous charitable organization to support girls’ education in countries like Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso, and for the second season in a row she’s leveraging her friends’ overstuffed closets to raise money for the group’s efforts overseas with a Supermodel Flea Market during New York Fashion Week.
“Every time I go to Africa I end up falling in love with children or schools,” says Garrn, “so the money from the flea market I’m going to donate to six different schools in Zimbabwe, to build them out, help restore the facilities, and help with infrastructure to get the kids to school.”
If you’re in New York, that means this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, you’ll be able to shop hand-me-downs from Karlie Kloss, Constance Jablonski, and Kasia Struss (many of them unworn; all much cooler than the stuff you got from your older sister growing up), as well as donated goodies from brands like J.Crew, Frame, and Closed. Garrn posted a preview on Instagram earlier today, and, well, it certainly looks nicer than any other flea market we’ve been to this summer:
As she was prepping for opening day, we called up the German model to chat ice cream preferences (vegan and otherwise), middle names (or lack thereof), and her native tongue’s most useful swear word.
Read on for her responses, and go to the Toni Garrn Foundation website for more details on the event.
What’s your middle name?
I don’t have one! My parents weren’t creative enough to even think about one. I asked them recently and they were like, ‘I don’t know, we were thinking this or this name for you,’ but I was like, ‘Ok, but why didn’t you put one as a middle name, then?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ My brother doesn’t have one either.
What would your last meal on earth be?
Something sweet, like French toast or chocolate-chip pancakes. I’m allergic to dairy, so I try to cook very healthy and make them sugar-free and dairy-free and all that, but this would definitely be the unhealthy diner version.
What’s your most-used emoji?
The very serious one with no expression, but very sarcastic. 😑
What is the last thing you bought?
I was supposed to buy an iPhone like half an hour ago, but they told me I’d have to leave my phone there to transfer everything, so I didn’t do that. But it would’ve been an iPhone—I need the big one. I don’t actually shop that much … I can’t wait for the flea market so I have a little bit of space in my closet to actually enjoy shopping more, because usually it’s like, ‘I love this, but I have nowhere to put it anymore!’ I can’t even move my hangers.
What’s your idea of happiness?
Kindergarten. I love young children. I want lots of kids one day.
What’s your idea of hell on earth?
Robots everywhere. It’s not that I think that robots are going to take over the earth, but with Google Glass and electronic cars with no driver and all of that, I’m terrified that everyone is going to become more robotic and less human.
Who was your first celebrity crush?
Maybe Bob Marley—I really used to love dreads, and I still love his music. I don’t know if I was ever really attracted or anything, but I was always really obsessed with him.
What’s your favorite swear word?
A German one. Arsch. I call everyone and everything that if something goes wrong. It means ‘ass,’ basically.
Wine, beer, or liquor?
Red wine. Pinot Noir.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing that you own?
Probably my amazing gray, super-thick cashmere sweater that I travel in and I live in in the winter. It’s my friend’s brand, Brock Collection—she gave it to me recently and I love it. It’s a young, amazing new brand.
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
I love all sorts of ice cream. I’m the biggest addict—I almost have it every day. With the dairy allergy, I usually can’t have it when I’m traveling. But when I’m in New York and I find raw vegan places that have it, all the time. Very simple: usually vanilla. If I cheat with dairy, it’s usually because of the Vanilla Caramel Brownie from Häagen-Dasz. I don’t even know if you can get it here—I think it may be only a European flavor—it’s insane. It’s brownies wrapped in caramel in vanilla ice cream.
If you could change one thing about your appearance, what would it be?
I used to cry a lot when I found out I was going to be this tall, because they measured my bones when I was 13 and told me I’d be 6’1, and I turned into 6’1. I always wanted to be, like, 5’10. I was really sad I’d be that tall. Right now … well, my boyfriend says I have ugly toes. Nothing serious, though.
What is your favorite ’80s song?
Blondie, “Call Me.” I had a workout class this morning with a DJ and he played all ’80s—it was awesome.
What is your best characteristic?
I can adapt to anyone, any city, any atmosphere really quickly, because my job kind of taught me to. So if I’m really jet-lagged or I don’t really like a group of people or I don’t like a city, I can always deal with it. I’m very adaptable. I never really get very depressed about anything.
What, in general, do you find really, really annoying?
Greed. I’m usually quite giving, and all my friends are as well. We all share everything and help one another out. When we go out, we don’t split the bill—one of us always just takes it. We’re always there for one another—especially now with the flea market, all my friends have been so amazingly giving, and Karla Otto is so amazing to help me, everyone’s been amazing. So oftentimes when I travel or leave New York, I get really angry at people who are greedy or stingy or don’t help out.
How do you take your coffee?
Because of my dairy thing, I have to have almond milk in it. I’m not a big soy fan, but I do soy as well. If there’s none of those alternatives, I won’t have coffee, because I don’t like it black. So sometimes when I travel I’m on tea or water for a month or two—a forced coffee detox. My favorite is an almond-milk cappuccino.
What’s your all-time favorite movie?
“Some Like It Hot.” My dad showed it to me when I was 13 and it’s such an old movie, but I fell in love. Only the two of us watched it—the rest of my family didn’t get it. My brother and my mom were like, ‘Why do you watch these black and white movies all day?’ And I was like, ‘It’s the same one over and over.’
If you could come back as one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I’ve always been obsessed with Carrie Bradshaw—she’s not really a real person, but yeah, I’d want to be her.
What was your first concert?
MGMT. It was after a Hugo Boss show at the after party—I was only 15 or something and MGMT had a concert right after. I didn’t really know who they were, but I was right at the front and they were really cool.
Quick: What’s the first word you associate with Justin Bieber?
Sorry, I guess?
So, clearly you watch “Sex and City.” Do you think Carrie should have ended up with Aidan or Big, and why?
Yes, obsessed! Big. I never really liked Aidan. I don’t know why, but he seemed kind of slimy to me. I thought Big was cool and confident and he really loved her and she looked so cute with him.