Are you an aspiring fashion designer? Are you motivated to get your side hustle up so that you can have another source of income? Or do you just have a hobby you would like to explore further? Well we thought you might, and so being as awesome as we are, we thought we’d get hold of some people who are doing it and ask them a few questions about what they’re up to in the hope of inspiring you to do more with your hobby.
To start of this series of interviews, we have a fashion designer who is doing so many wonderful things at the same time we think she’s secretly got superpowers. You must be desperate to know who right? Or maybe you read the title and already know who, so we think we’ll stop harping on and introduce to you Yousra Elsadig!
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Yousra Elsadig. I am an award-winning modest fashion designer, full-time Optometry student and a mother of two. I was born in Sudan and moved to Canada at a young age. I graduated from my first degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto, which is the first step towards a doctor of optometry degree in Canada.
How did you become a designer?
Starting a family, which put my degree on hold, had awakened my long-lost love for creativity and design. I started taking classes in textile and up-cycling where I met my Welsh fashion mentor Sarah Valentin. She encouraged me to begin and told me that it was all in me. My modest fashion brand “Boutique de Nana” was then born.
Tell us about Boutique De Nana?
Boutique de Nana is an award-winning, unique and trendy modest fashion brand that caters to any female who chooses to dress modestly, whether it is because of a personal preference, a religious reason, or a royal protocol. We strive to make ladies who dress modestly look and feel red-carpet ready at all times.
Who inspires you creatively?
Women do. I work hard for my mother, sisters, daughters, and my fashion mentor Sarah Valentin. Women inspire me to create, excel and to inspire them back. I don’t look at big designers when I want to create, I look in the eyes of my daughters Nana and Lilu and all of a sudden a whole collection is born.
How does your faith inspire you?
Modesty is a requirement for ladies in the Muslim faith and that is how and why I chose this niche in design. I was struggling to find unique, trendy yet modest clothing in the high street that reflected my personality and this is why I decided to utilise my creativity and turn it into my own modest fashion brand.
Have you found it hard to balance your faith and achieving your goals?
Our faith encourages women to excel in their chosen fields. Historically in Islam women were entrepreneurs like Khadijah (AS), scholars and even battlefield fighters. The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged men to get ½ of the knowledge of their deen from his wife Aisha (AS). Also, working is considered ibada in Islam, which is why I work hard and strive to represent Muslim women in the best way possible.
What’s the importance of representation?
It is a moral obligation and a form of Da’wa to positively represent our religion. Islam has been tied to a lot of ‘un-Islamic’ acts of terrorism and disturbing the peace of humans. This is very unfortunate as our religion is the religion of peace and love; even our greeting is “Peace be upon you”. Thus, it is vital to take positive representation seriously.
What is your proudest moment?
In 2016 when I started Cardiff University to finish my Doctor of Optometry degree I started in Canada. Life was then complete because the void within me that I hadn’t finished my second degree was then filled. Also, each time I win an award in my fashion design journey I take it as a sign from God that I am on the right track. The most special awards to me were “The most inspirational female student in the UK and Barclays Woman of the Year 2017” because they recognised the hard work I put in as a woman with different hats such as a student, a mother and a fashion designer.
What’s your advice to other’s wanting to get into Modest Fashion?
A final piece of advice for any female who wants to start her path in modest fashion design or any other creative field is: To nourish your passion and choose to follow your dreams. This will make your path recognizable and you will leave your footprint in the society. Ultimately, nurture your dreams and they might just defy the laws of gravity.
Bio: A mother of two, a full-time Optometry student and an award-winning modest fashion designer.
Occupation: Fashion Designer
YouTube: Boutique De Nana