Nilusha Maddumage

While the fashion industry might be the second most polluting industry in the world, the system of zero-waste fashion poses a positive impact to this real-world issue and ARTRA celebrates the manner through which fashion designer Nilusha Maddumage incorporates this principle in her designer collection. Nilusha constructs a collection that attempts to respect the environment, which also pose multi-purposed functionalities. Obtaining her education at the Open University of Sri Lanka in Fashion Design and Product Development and having showcased her collections at the University and Colombo Fashion Week thrice consecutively, Nilusha’s skillset rests in the ability to manipulate fabric and narrate not just a fashion-forward notion but also reducing the waste that contributes to the daunting climate change concerns.

Facts show that out of four-hundred billion square metres of fabric produced per year, 15% of the fabric is put to waste. Nilusha Maddumage practices in her design process the solution to this problem. Nilusha’s collection ‘RE-Life’ showcased at Colombo Fashion Week 2019 presented a series of multi-use sustainable, eco-friendly yet fashionable statement pieces. Zero-waste fashion is a system carried out much longer than the rise of the global environmental crisis, however, less acknowledged. The conventional methods of cutting and throwing when compared to zerowaste fashion seem to be futilely in vain, for the process of reusing and saving fabric in the producing of a garment stand as bold fashion statements. “I first sketch how I want my piece to be and then envision it on a piece of fabric, draping it over the mannequin, folding, re-draping and re-folding until it starts to take shape,” she explains. Nilusha’s process of making, designing and producing zero-waste fashion include a repetitive mode of folding and stitching among the methods of carefully arranging geometric shapes to fit as though it were a fabric jigsaw puzzle. 

The concept of zero-waste fashion Nilusha adopts in her designs allows and portrays a unique talent for stitching diverse patches of fabric together into season-less, high-fashion clothing that can be worn for a lifetime cultivating a mind-set that proves to be very simple, with barely any cuts needed. In doing so, Nilusha creates a multidimensional, multifunctional garment, designed using a square piece of fabric that strategically places zippers and stitches so that it can be worn in various different ways. This is an example where the design is versatile and can be adapted and personalised by the wearer. These unique and distinct nuances and characteristics that Nilusha instils in her production further attest to the strong sustainability factor, adding to her process the use of metal zippers that are long-lasting and exercising proper practicality.

Her collection ‘RE-Life’ embraces minimal looks alongside colours limited to only few shades made strong and daring through the systems of cutting to create her designs, which make considered clear, creative statements; dramatic yet graceful; audacious but feminine.

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7th November, 2019 Applied Art