Worn Again: From old knits to haute couture, a breakthrough in sustainable fashion

Creative Boom
By Katy Cowan
Photo: By Madien Cohen 

Apparently, around 17,000 tons of textiles are thrown away every year in Israel. In her haute couture series Worn Again, fashion designer Dana Cohen wants to showcase a new way to recycle these fabrics and transform them into sustainable, yet luxury clothing.

Nearing the end of her studies at the Shankar College of Engineering and Design, she spotted a pile of leftover textiles that she didn't end up using in her designs, and it got her thinking about the mass production of clothes and its impact. Inspired to do something different, she introduced an innovative new approach to ecological fabric manufacturing.

She explained: "Until now, used clothes were recycled mainly for practical purposes. I found a way to create a new cycle of life to used knits by shredding them and using them to create new textiles. I like the idea that the unique colour of the recycled textiles consists of many different knits, each with their own history. And meanwhile we can reduce pollution!"

The project has proved so popular it won the Fini Leitersdorf Excellence Award for Creativity and Originality in Fashion, and the Rozen Award for Design and Sustainable Technologies for 2015.

When it comes to inspiration for her designs, Dana creates textiles that have unique colour combinations and textures, often giving a spotty effect: "It made me think of Jackson Pollock’s drip painting technique. I decided that every outfit will be coloured according to a different painting."

For almost all outfits, Dana chose to show the transformation from old garment to new in one piece of clothing: "By knitting new pieces and integrating them in the new fabric, I could illustrate the transformation from old to new. For some of the outfits I used patterns as argyles and stripes that are usually associated with traditional sweaters."

Read the original and view the photo gallery here.