Model and Gen Z creative: Ellie Connor-Phillips

Model and Gen Z creative: Ellie Connor-Phillips

At the tender age of eighteen, Ellie Connor-Phillips has already achieved things even established members of the creative community would dream about. With countless fashion weeks already under her belt and a line of photographers and publications wanting to capture her unique and individual sense of style, 2017 seems set up to be her year. We sat down with Ellie to discuss the current state of the education system and how some young people are starting to rebel against the more hedonistic forms of media.

Nina Burrell: You recently modelled for Phiney Pet at London Fashion Week. How important is it for you that the brands and publications you work with have a sense of authenticity within their artistic licensing?

Ellie Connor-Phillips: It’s hugely important. With Phiney, I felt that the models were chosen based on who we were as people, rather than just what face we were born with. This felt so empowering, as I felt valued as an individual, and I think this shone through the show as there was such a buzz of confidence and comfort that is rare to find at often-competitive fashion week shows. I’ve been put off whole brands and designers before just by seeing height and size restrictions on their open call sheets – it’s 2017, we’re past making people feel inadequate. By using real people (which also includes professional models, who are real people too!) work can be kept very authentic, which is something I admire in any form of art.

Ellie Connor-Phillips

NB: You’ve recently released the first issue of your zine, Bloom. Do you think our generation has fallen back in love with physical publications as a rejection of the digitalisation of art and music?

ECP: I think they have! Publications are yours forever; you can hold them, wear out the pages with endless inspiration-hunting, collect them for future use. Online articles are not as homely, it’s hard to feel that they are “yours”. Also, not being able to hold something renders it slightly unattainable and hard to collect and keep.

NB: Do you feel like the current state of the educational realm (e.g the government secretly increasing tuition fees without addressing the public) is making it harder for young people to have a place to release their creative outputs?

ECP: Definitely! Money, for example, is a huge part of the creative industries, unfortunately, as materials and spaces to work are so expensive, let alone university courses. The pricier it gets, the more elitist the art world will become, excluding incredibly talented individuals who just so happen to not have the same privilege as their wealthy counterparts. Education should be for everyone, not just those who can pay for it.

NB: Gen Z are often accused of being uninterested, stagnant and even lazy. Why do you think people view our generation in this way?

ECP: I think technology and social media give the impression that Generation Z live their lives on the internet. However, this is a misconception as the internet can actually be a great source of inspiration and a place to find and make work. Often, a person on their phone in class might actually be doing something useful rather than just texting their mate. I also think anyone who thinks our generation is lazy is simply not following youth culture well enough. It isn’t hard to see the amazing young talent in all fields of creative and academic work that is doing well at the moment.

NB: Can you think of any young designers/artists/performers that you think are currently changing the game within the creative industries?

ECP: So many! I mean, Charles Jeffrey and Matty Bovan are two designers that I feel have brought not only a huge amount of talent to fashion, but also a lot of fun. It’s refreshing to see designers loving what they do. Claire Barrow’s shift towards more fine artwork alongside her designs was also particularly inspiring. She is incredibly young to be so bold, going against the grain of the London Fashion Week schedule and instead making her work to her own watch. I think it’s young talents like these that have the potential to really make a difference in the fashion industry as we know it.


Written by Nina Burrell,


Photographs taken by Jessica Gwyneth

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