From Lagos to Louth, with plan to revitalise local clothing industry
From poring over fashion catalogues as a child in Lagos, to creating clothes for Dutch royalty, LAURA STUART-COOK meets one designer who has set roots in Louth and now hopes to revitalise local manufacturing ...
WHILE his friends were playing outside in the sun, a young George Adesegun would sit devouring the contents of a clothing catalogue belonging to his migrant neighbours.
Growing up with his grandparents in Lagos, Nigeria, he was more used to seeing hand-me-downs and traditional African dress than the western outfits in the catalogue.
But it is this unique combination of western influence and African upbringing that has shaped George's flourishing career.
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"Most fashion is only designed to be worn for one or two seasons but I do not want my pieces to be that frivolous," he explained. "Growing up in a country where I didn't have the luxury of new clothes made me realise the importance of making items that will last.
"I truly believe that all women are beautiful in their own way and that I can enhance that beauty in my creations."
George moved back to the UK, where he was born, 28 years ago after securing a scholarship at Gloucestershire Art and Technology College.
He later studied at Epsom College.
After graduating, his designs caught the eye of the London Fashion Forum, which displayed some of his dresses in the grand setting of Fortnum And Mason.
George then worked as a freelance designer, travelling all over the world to work for fashion houses, including New York, Monaco, Canada and Amsterdam – where he helped dress members of the Dutch royal family.
"I was designing pieces that were selling for up to £10,000 each," he said.
"But then my personal life changed when my wife gave birth to my first daughter, followed by our twins, and I didn't want to be travelling around the world without them.
"I decided to move back to London and design a ready-to-wear range.
"Couture was still my underlying passion, but the range was very successful and sold to boutiques all over the UK and Europe."
George, 47, who now has four children, decided to move to Lincolnshire at the end of last year in a bid to create a brighter future for his children.
He has now founded his own self-named design studio in Aswell Street, Louth, selling made-to-measure outfits.
"In London I was worried about my children and didn't want them walking to school on their own," he explained.
"I wanted a safer and more relaxed place for us all to live and we fell in love with Louth.
"My shop gives people the ability to come in and talk to me about what they want. I will have three or four fittings with them to design the perfect outfit for any occasion."
And he now also hopes to create a brighter future for Louth by reinvigorating clothing manufacturing.
"I had real trouble finding a skilled machinist," he said.
"There used to be clothing factories in Louth but they've all shut down. It would be fantastic if we could bring them back.
"I am already mentoring local young designers and training machinists to be able to complete the pieces for me.
"It is my dream that we can end up making pieces for brands like Gucci right here in Louth."
Contact George by visiting the shop in Aswell Street, calling 01507 601315 or 07565 366839, visiting www.georgeadesegun. com or e-mailing email@example.com