What does it mean to feel truly free? For Angelica Ellis, the 24 year old Print Design student from South East London, it means to feel protected.
A year on since the brutal murder of George Floyd, Ellis – who is of Jamaican descent – has designed her collection in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. Discarded cans of Diet Coke have been cut and embroidered to create a physical armour for her wearer. ‘I want them to be free to be whoever they want to be regardless of how society sees them,’ Ellis said. The Windrush generation also influenced Ellis’ approach. ‘Their style was the only thing they could control and it was almost like their armour. Everything had to be well-presented.’
After honing in on her embroidery skills during her placement year at Maison Lemarié in Paris (the art house for Chanel) Ellis returned with fighting spirit. Suffering with severe scoliosis, she required support with screen printing, but embroidery gave her independence. Across her designs Ellis has embroidered exquisite outline art, including one of a woman with her fist defiantly raised in the air, using minute blue beads, each individually sewn that give a depth and sensitivity to the collection.
Hannah Karpel, BA Fashion Journalism