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Donna Karan creates couture clothing out of old MILITARY garments to go up for auction

Donna Karan’s Urban Zen has collaborated with Veteran Services USA to create custom designer creations to be auctioned.

‘I’ve had the opportunity to redesign, reimagine, and repurpose military clothing for Veteran Services USA while raising awareness to an important initiative – providing therapy to veterans who are struggling with PTSD and suicide,’ Donna exclusively told DailyMail.com.

This first initiative with the American icon is part of a larger program that will be announced in the new year featuring a collective of other big-name designers.

Donna Karan’s Urban Zen has collaborated with Veteran Services USA to create custom designer creations set for auction.  Donna pictured with Cheri Kaufman , Co-Founder of Kaufman Astoria Studios and President of Veteran Services USA

Veteran Services USA is a non-profit organization committed to supporting returning and senior veterans by offering programs that ensure successful life transitions. 

For recently discharged veterans, it provides transitional sponsorship and career support programs, with a focus on mental health and suicide reduction.

‘I knew I wanted to be involved in the initiative as soon as Cheri Kaufman and the team at Veteran Services USA presented it to me,’ Donna shared.

‘Urban Zen cares about dressing (retail) and addressing the issues individuals and communities face and our veterans have dealt and are dealing with, PTSD and trauma.’

'I've had the opportunity to redesign, reimagine, and repurpose military clothing for Veteran Services USA while raising awareness to an important initiative - providing therapy to veterans who are struggling with PTSD and suicide,' Donna told DailyMail.com

‘I’ve had the opportunity to redesign, reimagine, and repurpose military clothing for Veteran Services USA while raising awareness to an important initiative – providing therapy to veterans who are struggling with PTSD and suicide,’ Donna told DailyMail.com

Donna has designed several pieces for the initiative, with two of the most spectacular being a ballgown and a flight jacket.

Donna has designed several pieces for the initiative, with two of the most spectacular being a ballgown and a flight jacket.

Donna designed several pieces for the initiative, with two of the most spectacular being an army print ballgown and an embellished flight jacket. 

The strapless gown features an asymmetrical hem and gathered waist, with a web carry handle – traditionally used as a military duffle bag strap – at one shoulder.

The jacket acknowledges the service history of the army’s elite fighter pilots and soldiers, featuring patches throughout the body, exposed zippers at the wrists and a Mongolian fur collar.

‘I embellished the pieces and utilized their signature qualities from an embroidery point of view,’ explained Donna.

'I embellished the pieces and utilized their signature qualities from an embroidery point of view,' shared Donna

‘I embellished the pieces and utilized their signature qualities from an embroidery point of view,’ shared Donna

Donna approached designing the couture pieces through the lens of Urban Zen.  

‘Redesigning and repurposing the military clothes was exciting,’ said the twice Womenswear Designer of the Year by the CFDA winner. 

‘What made it fun was the purpose behind the project, ensuring our veterans receive the therapy they need for PTSD. When doing anything with a purpose you connect to, it’s always fun.’

Her and her team were giving access to a warehouse full of fatigues to work with.

She took to Instagram to share a fun pic, saying ‘this is what happens when you send two designers and a stylist shopping in a warehouse.’

Donna and her Urban Zen team were giving access to a warehouse of fatigues to work with. She took to Instagram to share a fun pic, saying 'this is what happens when you send two designers and a stylist shopping in a warehouse'

Donna and her Urban Zen team were giving access to a warehouse of fatigues to work with. She took to Instagram to share a fun pic, saying ‘this is what happens when you send two designers and a stylist shopping in a warehouse’

Bold, versatile and notoriously cool —  the green camo print is one that is always in style.

And ready-to-wear designers are consistently looking to military fashions for inspiration. Double-breasted blazers, bias-cut trench coats, cargo pants; all infiltrated fashion from the front line. 

‘The silhouettes and colors are timeless,’ said Donna. 

Though Karan was often associated with the color black, ‘the natural color of green has always been a favorite of mine,’ shared the New York designer.

Adding: ‘The color is everywhere around us which makes it timeless.’

Though Karan was often associated with the color black, 'the natural color of green has always been a favorite of mine,' she said

Though Karan was often associated with the color black, ‘the natural color of green has always been a favorite of mine,’ she said

'Redesigning and repurposing the military clothes was exciting,' said the native New Yorker

‘Redesigning and repurposing the military clothes was exciting,’ said the native New Yorker

‘Donna is the quintessential American designer,’ said Cheri Kaufman, Co-Founder of Kaufman Astoria Studios and President of Veteran Services USA.

‘Her work spans far beyond stores, runways, glitz and glamor. Her dedication to communities nationally and globally is felt throughout the world. 

‘With her company Urban Zen, she will bring together service and fashion by collaborating with VSUSA to repurpose military surplus uniforms into wearable art, which will be auctioned and sold to raise funds for the organization and provide support for our veterans.’ 

The auction date and other designers involved will be revealed in the new year.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk