The vigor of an emancipated mind. The burying of broken promises and awakening of self-awareness. Intentional nostalgia. The collection intentionally looked back to see the future. The collection started an uncomfortable but necessary conversation.
Who is GEORGE and why is he DEAR? This question has been raging since the collection debuted. At Ituen Basi we are always fascinated by the incredibly rich and diverse culture of the Nigerian people. The multilayered influences are often untapped and unnoticed.
For this collection, we choose the somewhat marginalized plaid George fabric worn primarily by the people of the Southeastern part of Nigeria as our starting point. We love the lightness of the fabric, its simple plain weave, and its vast array of colours. The fabric’s interesting history is also another point of interest. This fabric predates the Nigerian independence as it was brought during the British colonialization from the Madras region in India. It was quickly adopted for its wearability and became a symbol of wealth and success until the weavers in Akwete began to weave their local versions of the fabric because the imported versions were very expensive. It is still argued that the fabric was named George after King George.
So back to the question, who is GEORGE and why is he DEAR? Dear George is not a person but a state of mind. Dear George is a re-awakening, a taking back of self. Dear George is a conversation that started a long time ago and should not have ended without your say-so. Dear George is a taking back of power, liberating yourself from a trying situation. Dear George is a clarion call that says it is time to speak up and demand what was promised. Dear George is unapologetic confidence and boldness. Dear George is a victory dance of self-discovery. So what will your Dear George letter say?