Arsya Giri, Fashion Designer & Founder of Marsyangde (A conscious fashion label with a focus on sustainability and attractive design) always had a penchant for clothes and is literally championing sustainable fashion one collection at a time.
With a B.A. in Fashion Designing from London College of Fashion, Diploma in fashion designing from Raffles, B.A. Media & Communications from Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communications, Arsya is upping the ante on sustainable fashion.
If you thought up-cycling would result in monotonous, shabby pieces, then you need to only look at Arsya’s label Marsyangde. With sustainability and innovation at its heart, her label boasts edgy and detachable Shawl Collar jackets, fleece joggers and exquisite shirts.
How did you get into fashion and end up starting Marsyangde?
Designing is my passion, it’s one of those things I never get bored doing. I discovered my interest for designing while pursuing my degree in Media & Communications. So post graduation, I decided to test it out by doing a fashion diploma in Raffles. That's when I found my love for textiles, pattern cutting, fabric manipulation and decided to make a career out of it. Thereafter, I did Bachelor in Fashion Designing at London College of Fashion and then worked for two years with a designer named Lula Laora.
While working with Lula Laora, I knew I'd eventually start my own fashion label in Nepal. I wanted something of my own, but wasn't sure when I'd move back and start my venture. My sister's wedding pulled the trigger. That brought out the emotional side of me, considering I was always away from home (boarding school & higher education), never got much time with my family. So I quit my job in 2022 and returned to Nepal. Now, here I am representing Marsyangde, my fashion label, six months later.
What is Marsyangde all about and how did this come about?
Inspired by the 'Raging River', stemming from the Himalayas, Marsyangde (pronounced Mar-see-yang-dee) aims to create fashion pieces that not only look beautiful, but also capture the spirit and energy of rivers, and raise awareness about the importance of protecting these vital resources. It's fashion with a conscience. Marsyangde creates chic zero waste clothing for the modern wardrobe.
Oh, unsure if you noticed, but it also has my name in it, that was a bonus point while deciding on the name for the brand (lol).
What is the essence of your brand?
All our clothes are customisable. Marsyagnde believes in helping people find their own style and comfort zone. It’s about empowering confidence. We try to incorporate a lot of multi-functionality in our designs such as, detachability, reversibility etc.
Since we're a sustainable brand, we not only believe in zero waste at production, but also post-production after sales. So, when clients purchase an outfit from Marsyangde, a couple of years later when that outfit is out of fashion or they're bored of it, they can bring back the clothes to us and we'll re-design and up-cycle it into something relatively new.
What is your first collection all about?
It's a winter collection- an introduction to what Marsyangde is about. It has a wide range of clothing from lounge wear, jackets, tops, skirts, trousers, co-ord, and accessories. This explains that Marsyangde is a lifestyle. You’re investing in your lifestyle; you could wear it to travel or work or casually or at social events and parties.
How do you define sustainability in fashion?
Marsyangde specializes in making clothes sustainable when the fabric is not. So we incorporate things like up-cycling and zero waste pattern cutting. We make clothes with added structure for longevity. Additionally, Marsynagde clients have an option of up-cycling the garments bought over a period of time. It’s all about making garments that will last and could potentially be passed down over generations.
What are some of the fabrics you use in your outfits?
We've used a lot of winter fabrics like suede lined in fur, wool, velvet and cotton fleece. I think fabrics and color can either make or break your design. Not all designs are compatible with all fabrics. While deciding a fabric for a design, I have to think of weight, texture, combinations, how thick a seam will get when layered up; when to design down and design up for certain design aspects. Most importantly, finishing- if your clothes aren’t finished well, they won't look good no matter how good the design is. Each fabric requires different finishes, and you’ll only know this with a lot of practice plus trial and error.
How do you make sure you make it a zero waste product?
The hardest and the most time consuming way is via pattern cutting. I remember when I first started zero waste cutting in LCF (London College of Fashion), as it’s not something they teach. I spent an entire year and two collections just trying to figure it out. But I’ve always been curious about pattern cutting and how clothes are constructed and the complexity of zero waste cutting increased my interest (it’s more about the construction than designing for me). That’s where I learnt the value of fabric/textile (expensive/inexpensive). My quest to consume entire fabric for a design is where I started exploring zero waste cutting.
Fun fact: I don't draw and design. I pattern cut, drape and design.
The best way of making zero waste products is constant innovation. I read a lot of books, follow people that practice sustainable design and practice countless times. After a whole lot of trial and error, I’ve found my own way. It’s one of the most difficult things. but extremely rewarding when you hack it.
The learning process is endless and that’s the best way to learn, as sometimes mistakes come out as beautiful designs. I incorporate as much zero waste pattern cutting as possible. But when my design is compromised, I stop and recycle the offcuts to generate new designs.