This article was originally published by i-D UK.

philip ellis designs for the world he wants, not the world he sees

His anti-Brexit graduate collection turned heads last year. Now, with a general election looming, and a right-wing government ever likely, we need designers like Philip Ellis more than ever.

by Ryan White
May 24 2017, 1:40pm

This article was originally published by i-D UK.

For the small town boys and girls who dream of reaching London "to pursue their dreams of fashion in the big city," Philip Ellis is a shining example of the city's possibilities. Growing up in a small village in the Peak District, Philip came to London to study fashion at Central Saint Martins at 18-years-old, and soon found himself embedded in the capital's queer, creative scene. "When I first moved here I got a bar job at Dalston Superstore and it exposed me to LGBT spaces in London and the community surrounding them. For me, nightlife is synonymous with fashion." 

Having no technical design skills at this point, Philip soon found himself in the fortunate position of working at Meadham Kirchhoff in his first year. "I learned almost everything I know there. They produced everything in house so I was exposed to the full design process. It was amazing." Graduating from CSM last year, Philip's BA collection gathered the attention of many for its explicit anti-Brexit stance. Philip adorned the clothes with messages such as "don't bite the hand that feeds" across the EU logo. Particularly prescient at the time, showing just a few weeks before the referendum, the collection also featured criticisms of the Conservative government ("Tories put the N in cuts").

Imbuing his clothes with a message of disruptive politics and a desire for unity, the young designer captured more than just the spirit of activism, but a crucial part of his own identity. "Politics is an important aspect of my work because my designs are a representation of my personality. But, I wouldn't want to express my opinion for the sake of it." Certainly, with a desire to change the world around him, without treating activism as a trend, Philip's future as a London designer looks bright. Watch this space. 

Look: An Egon Schiele-inspired shoot by Tim Walker.


Text Ryan White
Photography Tim Walker
Philip wears sleeves, trousers and socks Philip Ellis. Boots Dr. Martens. 

London designers
Central Saint Martins
fashion interviews
Tim Walker
ryan white
the creative issue
philip ellis