ITW⎜Inside the Brilliant Mind of Emerging Designer Rhys Ellis

How the Birmingham City University graduate conceives sustainable clothes from waste materials

in brief

Young designer Rhys Ellis told us about his last spring/summer collection 2018 which was showcased in London last September. Graduated from Birmingham City University, the uncommon work of Rhys, not only caught our eye but seemingly caught those of luxury retailer Selfridges which suggested him to have his graduate collection made out of reclaimed materials, exposed for a while.

After spending some time in the Asian continent, in Shangai and Changshu, Rhys gave us an interview where we discuss many topics among which his debut in fashion and coral bleaching which he raises awareness about in his last collection.

futur404: It has already been a year since you graduated. How good has this year been for you ?

Rhys Ellis:  « It’s been a great year – the presentation of my graduate collection thrown up a lot of opportunities which allowed me an insight to different parts of the industry which have been invaluable to be moving forward with my brand. »

futur404: How did you start this collection: What was the message you wished to deliver ?

R.E: « We are in a pivotal moment, the environment is falling apart around us yet activities such as the manufacturing of fashion is speeding up suggesting that action needs to be taken. I wanted to start how I mean to go on, by using materials that have a negative impact on the environment and manipulating them into textiles that can be used to mould around the body. »

futur404: What was this collection aimed at?

R.E: « Everyone, but especially to catch the attention of the people causing a negative impact on our environment. First make them question what is the textile made from, then realise the possibilites moving forward with waste materials. »

futur404: Was using coffee pods a sort of fashion statement or the willing to show the world something different ? It really looked like something we could be expose in a museum.

R.E: « It was just a statement. Not directed solely to people within fashion, but to everyone who comes in contact with them. Sustainable clothing is a focal point in Rhys Ellis but these pieces were purely there to capture peoples imagination, to deliver a message, not so much to be worn. »

futur404: How did it felt to see your work being exposed at Selfridges? How did that happen ?

R.E: « It was a great stepping stone to have my pieces in Selfridges amongst other designers. Selfridges have great values concerning sustainability and plastic, so it’s a perfect retail store for my brand to be a part of. Selfridges came across my work and asked if I would be interested in collaborating. »

futur404: You’ve been travelling a lot around the word to showcase your work. How was that experience ?

R.E: « Each experience offered different opportunities but my time in Changshu and Shanghai offered a great insight to what the customers there are looking for and the way in with the industry works there. »

futur404: Your new collection is called ” White Horses”. Which story does it tell us ?

R.E: « White Horses is a juxtaposition to the collection itself. The collection depicts the deterioration and bleaching of coral reefs caused by our own hands yet White Horses is linked to the romantic imagery that we see on earth of white waves crashing onto the shore alike ‘White Horses’ galloping. »

futur404: Can you tell us a bit more about your working process? For example the technology or techniques involved. Do you work with a team ?

R.E: « The collections first start with the inspiration and concept which I create a colour palette from. From this point the focus is the textile development using both hand and technology. I used S/S18 to introduce knitwear therefore I collaborated with Knitwear designer Oliver Thomas Lipp to develop textiles that were fitting to the concept and fitted with the aesthetics of Rhys Ellis. »

futur404: Are there any designer/artist that you truly appreciates and that inspires you in your work or that you look up to?

R.E: « I trained and work very closely with Iris Van Herpen so I would have to say she is someone I look up to. Not only because of her innovative focus on textile but the down to earth, kind, approachable personality in which she carries herself. »

Click on the following link to discover more of the fantastic work of Rhys Ellis.

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