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Fashion (MA)

Ella Shiraz

Ella Shiraz (She/Her They/Them) is a multidisciplinary textiles artist, knitwear designer and dancer. They are a Graduate MA Fashion at the Royal College of Arts. Previously, Ella studied BA Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles at Nottingham Trent University. Their work explores identity as a queer, black woman, utilising movement as a research tool and textiles craft as a medium of expression. 

Ella's work has been showcased at:  'Entrée: WIP 2023' at Royal College of Arts (London, 2023); 'Yohaku: empty space - 34th international exchange' at Kyoto City University of Arts ( Kyoto, 2022); 'J'evlève'' Fashion Show (Kyoto, 2022); Graduate Fashion week (London,2021); and SPINEXPO (Shanghai, 2019) . Within the fashion industry, Ella has experience as a: Freelance designing and manufacturing; creative assistant at LYL Official, and swatch design assistant at Sophie Steller Studios. Ella is a recipient of the RCA Studentship Scholarship.

Woman with Stretch printed jersey on a black background

Through movement, colour, textiles, and craft, my artistic practice delves into the concept of identity, examining it through the lens of a queer black woman and exploring its impact on the external world. Employing dance as my research methodology, I delve deep into the intricate connections between our physical bodies, the energies we emit, and the negative space surrounding us. Dance serves as a tool, allowing me to express and navigate the depths of my emotional and mental landscape.

As a dancer, I have been developing an awareness of my body within space and comprehending the interplay between my inner self, my physical form, and the environments I inhabit, whether within a performance or in the moments of everyday life. The objective of my practice is to integrate my physical presence and body into the surrounding space in order to capture the moments that arise between transitional movements.

The significance of craft within my creative practice is deeply rooted in its essential position within both queer and black communities. The ability to craft and create for oneself has been an integral aspect of the journey of self-discovery and identity exploration. Understanding that my core skills of design stem from online DIY culture, I recognised that my self-exploration was influenced to my handcrafted work. Throughout my practice, I have connected the dots between my knitwear design and crochet development and the experiences of my Caribbean grandparents, who were skilled tailors and seamstresses during their time in the Caribbean and in London.

The connection between the history of textiles and craft that emerged from Caribbean British communities and the significance of craft and design within black queer spaces of the past and present, has allowed me to build community and understanding of myself. Through the use of both knit and crochet, I am able to visually represent my essence as a queer, black woman that embodies my inner world.

My aim with my work is to spark dialogue that challenges preconceived notions and celebrates the resilience and richness of queer and black communities by unravelling the complexities of identity, culture, and self. Both Craft and movement are transformative languages that guide me in the understanding of myself and the world around me in order to highlight the complexities of a human experience. 

Crochet with jersey in orange, teal and white, with poetry on dark coloured jersey
Crochet, knit and screen printed sample. Connecting the movement of self and the energy surrounding self while dancing.
basket woven attatched to chunky white crochet and black jersey with poetry printed over
Basket weave, Screen Print on jersey and chunky crochet
jersey in shape of body with poetry printed over with crochet over bust
Screen print and digital print of jersey, Chunky crochet.
Centre: torso body photograph, left: layered body movement still photograph, right: illustrative sketch of left image
Photography of video stills edited Illustration pencil and paint marker
Stills of movement videos
Stills from moving diary created in Kyoto, Japan.
layers of stills from movement videos
Layers of set of stills edited
Distorted layered image converted to weave guide
Distortion of video stills converted to grid mapping for ikat weave.
zoom in of weaving process showing orange, teal, indigo blue and pink dyed yarn.
Zoom in of weaving in progress
right: woven final product in teal, orange, blue and pink, centre and left: Linear felted fabric influenced by weave
Yohaku: empty space - 34th international exchange' at Kyoto City University of Arts | Kyoto, 2022Woven and Felted samples.


Photography, Felt, Weave, Dye
Crochet and denim outfit on dark stage with lit up model
J'evlève" Fashion Show, Kyoto, 2022Crochet, Denim The theme of the show was to transform a part of the outfit, so the crochet layer was revealed by untying part of the denim bib.
2 images Crochet and denim outfit on dark stage with lit up model


Crochet, Denim and Macramé
Distorted weave on photocopier
Distorted, Moving Weave on photocopier
Separate crochet and knot tying samples
Chunky crochet samples influenced by movement of weave distortion
Zoom in of Crochet sample layered
Layers of Crochet samples.
Crochet and robe collage over gold frames with movement layered image within
Entrée: WIP 2023I am told I am a vibrant being When one walks into the room I light it up But what is it to exude this energy? What is it to be in my body? What energies do I feel?
Enlarged crochet created with tubes of white jersey, wearing with arm movement
Jersey Ribbed fabric stitched together Garment inspired by enlargement of crochet
Jersey fabric worn while movement showing stretch and blurred moving image
Stretch Jersey fabric with distorted movement digital print
left image of poem large on wall behind sofa, right is poem only
Spoken word set up.
2 images of poetry reading, poem behind sofa with person siting, left image person is in black right person is in crochet jumper
Spoken word set up with and without crochet jumper.


Crochet, print, installation

Royal College of Arts: The Sir Frank Bowling Scholarship