Because of its vast commercial potential, fashion is often not considered a pure art form. This exclusionary attitude, however, has made it onto the chopping block in the past few years, as arts organizations and funding bodies have begun to reach out to the couture community. Recently, the Israel National Lottery Council for Arts and Culture made a major step in this direction with the initiation of a new project, the Upcoming Designers project, which was recently unveiled as part of Gindi Fashion Week TLV.This weekend, on the heels of that event, the Jaffa Port Gallery will host a new series entitled “Transforms.”Transforms will take place over five weekends during which Israeli and foreign designers will exhibit and sell their pieces. The goal of the initiative is to bring innovative fashion design to a visual art setting.For the inaugural weekend, curator Galit Reisman of TLV Style partnered with fashion expert Fabiana Magri to present up-and-coming Israeli and Italian voices. The 10 participants are Daniella Gelfer, Ya’ara Ohayon, Joseph Haver, Talia Sari, Michal Hidas, Chiarra Curreli, Paola Mirai and Ludovica Cirillo.Each designer represents a unique point of view and way of working.Using unconventional materials, these artists have individually established aesthetic languages and techniques unlike that of their peers or predecessors.Paola Mirai spent 25 years as an art director before ever approaching the drawing board. This gave Mirai time to carefully plan her foray into the fashion world. “I spent five years trying to create an innovative material that is transparent and light. When I finally found what I wanted, I named it ‘Orotrasparente.’ With it, I dared the detachment from classical canons and from the matter’s heaviness linked to the past,” said Mirai in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post.Chiara Curreli had amassed a body of work as a jewelry designer before ever considering herself a “designer.” Her pieces, which she creates under the label Duecentogrammi, are colorful and geometrical, and stand out.“I create bijoux,” she said. “The first time I made a necklace was for an important fashion show. Before that I saw myself only as an artisan. The difference is only in the intention of the creative process.”Ludovica Cirillo’s label, ByLudo, is known for transforming discarded keyboards into jewels. This form of recycling falls perfectly in line with Cirillo’s personal philosophy.“My inspiration comes from a famous De Lavoisier sentence: ‘Nothing is born, nothing is dead but everything is transformed.’ So in particular my creative eye is focused on technological tools like keys that I transform into bijoux.”The Italian weekend will be followed by four additional events, all held at the Jaffa Port Gallery. Part of the proceeds of the weekend will go the Megemeria School of Jewelry and Craft.Transforms will take place at the Jaffa Port Gallery today through Saturday. For more information, visit www.jaffaportgallery.com.