D-I-Y designer duds

Re-Kolektzia, a clothing swap that turns tired threads into chic creations, debuts Friday in Jerusalem.

Imagine going through the closet of a few hundred friends, plucking out what you covet most, and having those things remodeled to fit just so. Re-Kolektzia, debuting in Jerusalem, is a nationwide clothes swap where men and women not only swap the tacky, tight and torn but have a cast of designers on hand to turn last year's leg warmers into this year's leggings. "At Re-Kolektzia we transform old clothes into inspired new raiment," says the group's website. "That old dress, married thoughtfully to a piece of curtain, becomes a deep-front shirt, a pleated skirt or a stylish apron." All you have to do is bring a bag of old clothes, pick out what strikes your fancy, and leave it to the whims of the fashionably inclined experts of Re-Kolektzia. "Sometimes scissors do the job; a print can turn a dress around; and sometimes serious tailoring may be in order," they say. "No matter what's done, you'll leave with a unique new item for your wardrobe." One-off designer duds for free. The event is being organized by four young women from the alternative art collective the Sala-Manca Group and held as part of a two-day arts conference they call Sugia. The team planning the event told Metro they thank the Internet streaming site TreeHuggerTV.com for the inspiration to make such a creative swap happen. TreeHugger is where they first saw Wendy Tremayne and Swap-O-Rama-Rama, the US version of Re-Kolektzia. Hagit Keysar contacted Tremayne from Israel and asked about doing a similar project here. "Of course, I was just thrilled, and it confirmed in my mind that consumerism and the need for an alternative do not exist only in the US but elsewhere around the globe," Tremayne told Metro by e-mail. "I gave their group my full support and any help and advice I could offer." "An ordinary clothing swap usually involves people trading their unwanted clothing with others, which is great and it is how Swap-O-Rama-Rama began," continued Tremayne. "These ordinary swaps do serve a few good purposes: they help us reuse our textiles so that there is less waste, and they bring community together - something that shopping generally does not do." But Swap-O-Rama-Rama (or Re-Kolektzia in Israel) is different by going further, she says. "The unwanted clothing that is brought in is used as the resource which consumes no new raw materials to create something new." In the US - and what is expected to happen in Israel at the first-ever event - there are sewing stations for making modifications to new/used clothing; hand sewing areas where one can learn embroidery and knitting; a silkscreen area where unique artist-made images are added to garments; and creative clothing workshops. "In this way, attendees learn as well as recycle," says Tremayne. "This supports a self-celebratory environment where people recognize themselves as creator, and their efforts are celebrated by their peers." Re-Kolektzia will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at the Sergei Courtyard (near the Russian compound), 13 Rehov Helene Hamalka in Jerusalem. Entry is NIS 10. For further details, contact 0546-395936 www.habitu.org/rekolektzia/english.html