Arts Thread

Ben Ellis
Fashion Design BFA

Academy of Art University

Specialisms: Menswear / Textiles for Fashion / Sustainable Fashion/Textiles

Location: San Francisco, United States

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Ben Ellis

Ben Ellis ArtsThread Profile

First Name: Ben

Last Name: Ellis

Specialisms: Menswear / Textiles for Fashion / Sustainable Fashion/Textiles

Sectors: Fashion/Textiles/Accessories / Fashion/Textiles/Accessories / Fashion/Textiles/Accessories

My Location: San Francisco, United States

University / College: Academy of Art University

Course / Program Title: Fashion Design BFA


Born and raised in Alaska, I began drawing and designing at the age of 3. Growing up in Alaska at a time when it was still quite disconnected from popular culture, my interest in fashion came naturally as there was little impetus otherwise available. Forgoing a traditional career path, I focussed on garnering a wide set of experiences and exploring my interests. This led to a number of different professions and adventures such as road trips throughout the US & Canada; living in diverse locales such as Hawai’i, Colorado, Oregon, S. Dakota and Colombia, SA; and traveling extensively throughout Europe and South-East Asia. Throughout I remained focused on improvement of self and skills, picking up an Associate’s Degree in Computer Animation, becoming a nationally certified yoga instructor for 10 years, and training with different artistic, costume and sewing professionals. I worked to engage and galvanize my community by creating and curating a number of successful fashion shows, art exhibitions and a culture zine. This enabled my artistic and early fashion output to be seen by thousands and garnered the attention of local press across all media in Alaska, Hawai'i, California and Colombia, SA. In my senior year at Academy of Art University I was awarded the California Fashion Fund scholarship. My goal is to continue garnering work experience with masters of the craft in order to become a master myself.

Spring 2017 senior collection shown at New York Fashion Week and FashionArt Santa Cruz. I was inspired by the Fauvist oeuvre of Andrè Derain, first-hand experiences with climate change in my home state of Alaska, gay icon Peter Berlin and an intention of creating shamanistic streetwear. I made use of repurposed t-shirts throughout my collection, and used eco-friendly chemicals wherever possible in creating my textiles. Different denims were used after being treated with batik and discharge techniques, creating various animal motifs. 'Daubs' of color (repurposed jersey and denim) were appliquéd to various garments to create depth and texture in the vein of DeRain's Fauvist brush work. Photos: Randy Brooke

For the past year I have designed and constructed garments for the Gypsy Sport FW17, SS18 and FW18 collections. I began as an intern and for the past two seasons have designed a number of garments and accessories for the GS runways shows in Paris and New York City. The gender-fluid clothing was made of 99% repurposed materials; the textiles created via a variety of techniques such as appliqué, weaving, quilting and decoupage. My creations have been featured on the covers and pages of magazines such as Vogue, LOVE, Vice, I-D and Re-Edition. I also assisted in model calls and casting, as well behind the scenes set-up. This past FW18 season, the Gypsy Sport collection was named one of the 12 best in the world by Vogue.

A streetwear collection inspired by Frank Miller's 'Ronin,' Janet Jackson's 'Rhythm Nation 1814,' and the film 'V for Vendetta.' I implemented a reinforced chiffon appliqué onto a bomber jacket, which I also used as a lining. Said jacket was entered into the 2016 California Fashion Fund scholarship competition and won.

Toile Days was a personal project born of the desire to collaborate with people I admire and give more of a purpose to the legion of toiles I created in my research and development for my SS17 collection Fauve Nuevo. Some toiles were altered, and all of them were worked over with mixed media to create original pieces. Using marker, textile paint, ink dyes, and paint markers I fashioned looks inspired by a wide reach: the architecture of New York City, ice cream, Iron Maiden, Yup'ik masks, Mad Max Fury Road, the work of Miss Van, A Tribe Called Quest, our political climate, wildlife, and the Alaskan wilds. My models were a selection of people I admire and wanted to work with; they included fellow fashion designers, filmmakers, activists, a choreographer, x-treme athlete, stand-up comedienne, and yes, professional models. All photos were taken by myself, in the Fruitvale District of Oakland; Anchorage, Alaska; and Nabesna, Alaska.

A F/W menswear collection inspired by vogue & tone classes taken at Dance Mission SF and the oeuvre of Christopher Nemeth, a British designer known for his unconventional approach and use of materials. I created a number of the textile prints for the project, which include digital, hand drawn, stencil and screen print techniques. They are of floral and animal motifs.

Taking cues from the Filipino malong and yoga alignment techniques, I made use of discarded bicycle tire tubes to create within the malong alignment cues for the wearer. The malong is adaptive to the wearer's needs, and the stretch of the tubing allows the wearer to breathe and move comfortably while still facilitating good posture.

Techniques used for both fashion and visual art exhibitions include hand-made stencils, screen printing, batik, applique, hand painting and digital printing (both Photoshop and Illustrator). Motifs encompass florals, figurative, animal and plaids. Prints done in repeat and engineered. Fabrics used include denim, cotton shirting, repurposed military canvas, cotton blends, mesh and voile.