“I learnt how to make stuff without spending much money.” – Angelica Ellis
Raised in South London, Angelica found her way into fashion education through Berni Yates’ outreach programme. “She taught me how to be resourceful. I’ll never forget it – in one of her short courses, she was giving me advice on printing, and I was like, oh I can’t do that because it’s too expensive. Her response was – what’s in your house? That completely changed the way I work and how I made my own embellishments from Coca-Cola cans. I learnt how to make stuff without spending much money.”
Prior to completing her MA at the Royal College of Art, Angelica did a BA at Central Saint Martins. The difference between the two universities is the pace, she says. CSM is about the fast lane, and RCA is about noticing the details along the way. Patrick Lee Yow, Angelica’s late tutor was a big influence during her educational journey. “He taught me everything about design. I know it might sound cringey, but it’s the truth. I went to CSM because it was about ideas and storytelling. That is what I wanted my work to be about,” she says. During her BA, she found her passion in embroidery and the craft behind it. Obsessed with hand embroidery, she did several internships in Paris, working for Chanel’s Métier d’art Maison Lemarié, Atelier Lebuisson, and Atelier Baqué Molinié (who do the embroidery for Schiaparelli). Usually, when young people study fashion, they imagine a glamorous career in the design teams – the vision of the dream blinds them and keeps them away from more craft-focused practices.
“People think the designer designs something and then you just replicate it, but that’s not the truth at all. A lot of the embroidery suppliers in Paris are designing the samples. And then it goes off into production.” – Angelica Ellis