Outfitting a bride is daunting enough for any designer, even one with years of experience under their belt, but for 22-year-old Phylicia Ellis, the bride was not enough… She took on the entire female bridal party!
Hailing from Nassau, the Bahamas, Phylicia is not only a great designer but she is an exceptional seamstress. I remember admiring the work she presented at the second annual Islands of the World Fashion Week in 2009, thinking to myself that there was no way this was a contender for the Next Generation Designer Award as clearly, this person had been sewing for years!
Indeed, she had. Phylicia learned her skills through her mother’s summer sewing program called Zig Zag Sewing Adventures at the tender age of six years old. She later trained formally at Albright College in Pennsylvania. She attributes any additional skill in her sewing to continuous practice and working alongside peers in the industry.
At the end of May this year, Phylicia’s work was displayed on the most special of occasions as she created the gown for bride Genyne Ellis – also Phylicia’s sister – as well as the entire female bridal party and the all-important mother of the bride.
This being her first wedding venture as a designer, Phylicia was determined to make the bridal gown elaborate and memorable above all, choosing the route of elegant and romantic.
‘I sat with the bride and we discussed themes and concepts that she loved and hated… From those discussions, I knew I wanted to incorporate as many of her likes as possible whilst still remaining true to my own design philosophy. The bride being my sister made this a wonderful experience because she completely trusted my creativity and allowed me a freedom that any designer would appreciate.’
Having created such a time-consuming and well-received piece, Phylicia says that the completion of this wedding gown has to be her most memorable moment thus far on her journey as a designer.
‘Seeing the bride walk down the aisle, recalling the long days and nights spent on that one garment, made it all worthwhile… Exactly how the vision was conceptualized is exactly how it was executed.’
Drawing inspiration in general from people, places and the fabrics at hand, Phylicia’s favourite material is leather, a stark contrast to the romantic feel of this recent work, which only proves her versatility as a designer. However, for the moment, she is focused on Weddings by Phylicia Ellis and promoting this newfound talent for all things bridal. Currently living in New York, she has also been inspired by her environment, including the time she spent working with designer Victor De Souza during her first months there.
In closing, Phylicia shares with CFstyle.com what being Caribbean means to her:
‘Our culture, colour and creativity speak to me the most because I believe we have a natural flavour and passion that allows us to do anything.
‘Caribbean fashion has the ability to go very far as long as designers continue to think outside the box. My hope is that people continue to familiarize themselves with all things fashion and promote and encourage designers regionally so that being a fashion designer is recognized as a legitimate career choice.’
- Darcel de Vlugt, Editor -
Follow Phylicia’s work on her Facebook fan page:
Images courtesy of Phylicia Ellis
Photography by Dede Brown [Dede Brown Art Design Photography]
Special thanks to Phiona Ellis