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Georgia ic25 Demonstrates the Evolving Notion of Workwear

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Georgia ic25

Clothing is meant to be lived in. That's not to say garments can't toe the line between art and utility, but the foundation of what we wear is driven by our ability to exist within it. This is the sort of ethos that drives Georgia ic25, a genderless workwear brand helmed by Maria Dora.

Georgia ic25 is a brand by an artisan, for artisans. The website puts it better than I could: "For the working artist, or the artist who aspires to working." There is no singular way to express oneself, and—similarly—there is no singular way to wear Georgia's pragmatic yet nuanced designs.

Maria Dora grew up in Chicago before her family moved to Springfield in high school. She would eventually go on to start a Poli-Sci degree at the University of Iowa before finishing it at a small liberal arts school in the state. The initial plan was to go to law school, but a suggestion from her boyfriend encouraged her to apply to Parsons and pursue the world of design. "I honestly fell in love with it. I fell in love with handcraft and the thought process behind making clothes. Just the visceral working environment," she tells ONE37pm.

After graduating, she first entered the world of fashion design through knitwear. Read the full interview with the burgeoning designer below:

ONE37pm: What led to founding Georgia ic25?

I had a line before that was just knitwear. I was really fed up with the structure of wholesale and how we approach sustainability. I was shipping all these things from all over the world to make these garments that people would only be interested in for a season.

The idea of a uniform started forming in my head simply because I was so sick of constantly thinking about coming up with new things.

We’ll periodically introduce new things, but for the most part it's built around a core of three workwear pieces: an apron, a work pant, and a chore jacket.

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Georgia ic25

We put more emphasis on the textiles and the fabrications, which are all sourced and specially treated in Los Angeles. It makes things more sustainable for us, and the carbon footprint isn't this atrocious thing it was in the past.

It’s always coming back to the idea of protective wear and things you layer on top of each other.

What were you doing before Georgia?

I was doing things differently before just because that was the way I was told things were done. I was doing knitwear for movies, started freelance and did pieces for the second Hunger Games (Katniss’ hunting shawl).

I got picked up to do X-Men, Dunkirk, much bigger movies than I would have ever dreamed of.

Where does the name come from?

When we were first starting Georgia, I was researching a ton of chore jackets. A friend had mentioned offhand that they saw Georgia O'Keefe's chore jacket at the Brooklyn museum. By some stroke of luck, I was able to track down the same exact jacket, and we just called it the Georgia jacket for a while. After a bit it just became this thing where our jacket wasn't the same but it was similar, and then the name just stuck. IC-25, which was added later, is the trademark code for clothing, but it also stands for Imum Coeli. In astrology terms, it's the foundations or roots of a person. So we took that and made it this double entendre.

The chore jacket came first and then the apron and pants. We officially launched at the end of 2020.

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Georgia ic25

I have a hard time working fast, maybe to my detriment, but I also don’t want to put anything out there that I’m not 100% sure of. I’m just glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

Does political science still inform your design?

Poli sci has always been a big part of my life, but I think I tend to go about design in a quieter, more methodical way. I'm always thinking about what the sustainability or environmental effect is.

People are actually living with these pieces rather than discarding them or anything like that. The majority of materials and even labor are all within roughly a 25 mile radius.

It makes things easier to be able to go talk to people right away when there's an issue or pick up material when we sell out of things.

How has the manufacturing process evolved with Georgia?

I found a lot of the factories in Los Angeles are really overwhelmed with mass production already and found it difficult to service some of the film clients I work with. Every once in a while we need a piece that's more refined.

So I started working with this factory in Peru a few years ago, and they’ve been like family to me. They work with inner city women and give them a livable wage. It's run by a husband and wife duo and they do such incredible work.

They’re just very good people, they understand how I feel about the whole shipping thing so they’ll group projects together for me. If we do things in Peru, we do it as intentionally as possible. We also work with a co-op in Peru that gives income to indigenous women.

I try to keep it as small as I can. If we’re putting these beautiful things out there, then they should be beautifully made too.

- Maria Dora

I've used beads from Facebook marketplace from an old lady, found berets from this old couple who used to make them.

Tell me about the furniture collaboration with Alex Emmons.

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Georgia ic25

He wanted to do something that was cost prohibitive on his own so we worked on it together. I’m really really proud of the work he did.

We sat down and we talked about the things that we cared about and we have a similar ethos where we can do a lot with what we have around us now.

I feel like the second year of Georgia I was really interested in working with other artists in a collaborative way. It means so much to work with a community and people you care about.

What excites you about the future of Georgia?

I’m excited to see how things grow. This is an outlet that I really do care about and I want to continue working in the manner that we have been already. Possibly more intentionally now when it comes to design and how we’re presenting things, and creating this world that Georgia occupies.

What world do you want Georgia to occupy, or what do you think that world would look like?

I’m pretty open to what it is, but a lot of where I’m at right now is pausing and appreciating how wonderful things are.

The future of manufacturing is becoming more localized, specialized, and niche. Those ideas are getting easier to pursue and have people take you seriously. There’s more people now who appreciate that.

It make things more fulfilling, theres a community building around Georgia right now.

It's so important to think about clothing in a holistic manner. It’s not just something that you’re going to sell for an event or ecomm, there’s so many people who are affected by one chore jacket. Even on our end, I can think of at least seven people who are behind that one chore jacket you pick up. So it's important to think of the process as a part of all of these different peoples lives.

Tell me about the new collection.

This new collection is a funny beast. It’s the first time we experienced this crazy delay in things, which is ultimately a good thing because theres more brands producing in Los Angeles. It made me sit back and think, maybe we don’t need to produce this massive collection. I met one of the older character actors from a movie I worked on last year. He has this manic energy, but he’s this older gentleman and we photographed him for the collection. 

The new collection features beading, and the berets mentioned above.

It's a consolidation of what we’ve been working on the past year, and about attention to detail and luxe materials. Bringing some jewelry and beading into the process, which we’re hoping to expand on in the coming season. It’s weird, I almost felt like I had to get smaller before I could get back into this idea of expanding and thinking about how things can get bigger.

It's more refined, a bit more elevated. Possibly a bit more fun.

- Maria Dora on the newest collection

We’re using a painted silver denim that we’ve never used. There’s new stitching. 

Instead of expanding, I just wanted to come back down to what we really care about right now. For me personally, it was important to focus on things on a micro level and really understand them.

Keep up with Maria and Georgia ic25 on the brand's IG.

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