Fashion meets optometry

Optometry undergraduate Yousra Elsadig speaks to OT  about balancing study with her growing clothing brand and business

Yousra Elsadig

Yousra Elsadig (pictured) is an optometry student at Cardiff University who balances her study with running a clothing brand that has previewed at London and Paris fashion weeks.

Ms Elsadig relocated to the UK from Canada eight years ago to embark on her childhood dream of becoming an optometrist. However, she put her studies on hold when she married and became a mother, returning in 2016 after a number of years out.

Having been creative as a child, during her study break, Ms Elsadig learnt how to sew and began designing her own clothes when she struggled to find anything she liked on the High Street.

“I have always had a passion for fashion and I want to wear clothing that reflects my personality. I had become increasingly difficult to find anything suitable on the High Street so I started to make my own clothes,” Ms Elsadig shared.

“I started taking classes in textile and upcycling, during which I met Sarah Valentin who is now my mentor. She encouraged me to start my own business and, eventually, I did,” she added.

With support from the Prince’s Trust, the entrepreneur launched Boutique De Nana in 2015.

Originally from Sudan, Ms Elsadig explains that Boutique De Nana designs are modest but also trendy and unique.

Four years later Ms Elsadig says that the business has been growing slowly and steadily, highlighting that she is currently focused on building the brand and anticipates looking into import, export and manufacturing options after she has qualified as an optometrist.

Speaking about her return to optometry, Ms Elsadig said she was keen to always return to study and to qualify as an optometrist. “I grew up in a family of healthcare professionals, including doctors and dentists. From a young age I was fascinated by the eye and how we see, and optometry was always something that I was very interested in – I could not imagine never becoming an optometrist,” she told OT.

After qualification, Ms Elsadig’s plan is to initially practise in a High Street setting but has plans to open her own business one day and design her own frame range.

“Optometry has a business side to the profession and I am very entrepreneurial by nature so I would definitely like to open my own practice in the future,” she said.