Eileen Ellis (b.1933) British textile designer

Sample of Heatherdale fabrics designed by Eilleen Ellis
Sample of Heatherdale fabrics designed by Eilleen Ellis

Eileen Ellis (b.1933 ) was a British textile designer.


Between 1952 and 1954, Ellis was a textile department student at Central School of Arts & Crafts, specialising in weaving (she took a National Diploma in the subject).

She worked with Marianne Straub at Hornsey School of Art (now Middlesex Polytechnic). She taught at Central School on occasion starting in the late 1950s.

She began her career in Zika Asher’s design studio (1957-1959), where she worked on printed and woven textiles for the couture industry and Marks and Spencer collections.


She and three colleagues founded Orbit Design Group in 1960 to sell interior print and weave designs. Ellis and Ann Bristow founded Weaveplan a decade later (a later addition to the Orbit group). Bristow left the studio in 1973. Ellis took over as director, employing four designers before Weaveplan relocated from London in 2001, and Ellis became the sole designer.

Sample of Heatherdale fabrics designed by Eilleen Ellis
Sample of Heatherdale fabrics designed by Eilleen Ellis

Weaveplan developed the seating fabrics and textile colour strategy for BAA’s UK airports and all of British Airways’ textile elements and fabrics for Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific, United Airlines, and Virgin Airways, among others. TGV Sud-Est trains in France are also outfitted with Weaveplan-designed textiles.


Ellis won the Textile Institute’s Design Medal in 1985 after becoming an RDI in 1984. She received the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Weavers in 2002.

Ellis generously donated a significant number of weave samples spanning her career to the Central Saint Martins Museum and Contemporary Collection.


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Eileen Ellis. – Makers A-Z: individuals and organisations – UAL. (n.d.). https://collections.arts.ac.uk/people/134/eileen-ellis.

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