Israeli designer, Lia Kassif loves juxtaposition. And that is just the impression she leaves on you. Her serene smile contrasts her steel backbone; her powerful force outpunches her petite frame; and her tomboy presence feels at odds with her soft femininity. But it is in her fashion design that her love of contrasting effects really comes to life. And nowhere is this more evident than in her Military Collection, which juxtaposes upcycled military waste combined with discreet upcycled bridalwear waste.
Lia’s seven-piece Military Collection for The R Collective includes one-of-a-kind iconic quilted bomber jackets with hand-drawn camouflage stitch patterns, a shirt dress created using military trousers and a reversible trench. The entire collection was made using a variety of military uniform waste from China, USA and Israel. Providing that iconic juxtaposition, Lia finished her collection with satin, hand-made origami details and trims from the bridalwear.
It was during Lia’s time in the Israeli army that she fell for military uniforms and firmly inserted these into her design DNA.
“Military uniforms represent big power and yet become personal symbols of comfort,” she explained. “They are so tough but when worn become so soft. And by upcycling them with bridalwear waste they unite the powerful emotions of love and war. But ultimately, my collection talks about fashion’s transformative power to send one global message about the need for sustainability.”
Lia, who recently bolted out of world-renowned Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art with her degree in Fashion Design, was selected to design our Military Collection following her success in The Redress Design Award 2017, the world’s largest sustainable design competition for emerging designers that is organised by sister charity, Redress.
Lia’s Military Collection is one of our most challenging textile-waste-reduction projects to date, requiring complex production and representing an enormous labour of love from the entire team. It required extensive military waste sourcing from around the world, arduous deconstruction – think of the hours it took just to unpicking the robust uniforms – then cleaning, ironing and meticulous pattern making and laying. And all of this before the first stitch was even made!
In keeping with our mission to prove that fashion can be a force for good, our manufacturing was done by two Hong Kong social enterprises, Sew On Studio and Splendid Fashion. Both empower communities within Hong Kong, from providing jobs for the marginalised people to teenage mums. Working with these social enterprises not only provided a respectful form of employment, but it also served to train this workforce at sustainable fashion manufacturing techniques to empower their own future prospects.
Selected items from the Military Collection available to buy online at The R Collective.