Arsya Giri never thought she could be a fashion designer. The design lectures from her Media Communications classes in India triggered her interest in designing. “I had illustrations in my head but penning it on paper was the hardest thing to do. I thought because I can’t draw. I can never design. Later when I went to design school, I realised you really don’t need to know how to draw beautiful illustrations as long as one can do technical drawings,” she recalls.
Conventional cutting methods, say fashion experts, result in wastage of at least 15% to 25% of the fabric. 29 years old Arsya recycles leftover fabric in creative ways. “When fabric is cut to design any garment, there’s bound to be wastage. The fabric offcuts create beautiful unexpected designs when draped on a mannequin. I also use them for fabric manipulations, texture, etc,” she states. In zero waste pattern cutting, designers change the way they cut the fabric to allow little or no wastage. It is a tedious process and a result of repeat experimentation and in-depth study. There is no forum to certify a zero-waste fashion house. “Social responsibility comes from within,” says Arsya whose collections are now showcased at her studio in Budhanilkantha where no piece of fabric or thread is discarded.
“We upcycle the offcuts as much as possible without compromising the design. With time, the process has become a part of me and I enjoy doing something creative with the pieces. I love to play with leftover fabrics. As a designer, it’s almost like having a dialogue with the material,” she says. And it shows.
Dresses with neat stitches speak of cuts that do not leave room for much wastage. “As hard as it is to upcycle offcuts. It’s often rewarding when the designs come together,” smiles Arsya.
Arsya pursued fashion designing from London School of Fashion, and is a strong proponent of sustainable creations, rather than being driven by commerce and trends. Cued into the pitfalls of wastage, Arsya minimises waste without compromising on design. “I am hoping to have hit two birds with one stone as my method of reusing scrap has now become my USP. I enjoy experimenting with new ways of making the offcuts look aesthetic,” she says.
The fashion world is inching towards a more sustainable, eco-friendly approach. Waste can be minimised, she feels, in simple steps. Working on her summer collection currently, Arsya is keen about having a lot of flowy fabrics, georgette, satin, chiffon and cotton in the collection. “Summer will be all about pastels and a few bright shades,” she smiles. The collection will be available online from April 1.
Talking about her brand name, Marsyangde, she states, “I never wanted to have just my name as the label. However, Marsyangde blends beautifully with my name in it.”
*Marsyangde is the name of a river in Nepal and locally means: the raging river.