Courtesy of Boutique de Nana
Creating a brand that is as well known for its stylish apparel as it is for its social impact is no easy feat, but Yousra Elsadig accomplished it. Elsadig is a Sudanese designer who founded her luxury sustainable label Boutique de Nana in 2016 and has been making a positive change in the world through it ever since. The label is decorated with accolades for its fundraising efforts that are applied to issues Elsadig feels passionate about, like girls’ education. Now, Elsadig’s clothing is being recognised by Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA), as Boutique de Nana is in the running for FTA’s prestigious award in the ready-to-wear category. The winners of the competition will be announced at the FTA ceremony this autumn in Doha, Qatar. We sat down with Elsadig to talk about what winning would mean to her and her brand.

Who was the first person you called when you heard you were an FTA finalist?

Yousra Elsadig: The first person I told that I am a finalist for FTA was my husband, Ahmed, he knows how much this means to me, and he has been there for me from the start of my design journey. My mom was also visiting from Canada, so I called her straight away. I was astounded and in tears.

What does being selected as a finalist in this competition mean to you?

YE: It is much-needed reassurance for a Sudanese designer like myself to get such recognition for the brand that I dedicated so much of my time, money and effort towards. It is a sweet reward for my hard work, perseverance and discipline. I beat a lot of odds and societal expectations as I come from a family of medics to bring BDN to life, and it’s a much-needed reminder from Allah that my work does not go unnoticed. Moreover, FTA provides great support for its winners. They literally “spoil them”, which is much needed for BDN at this stage. I also get to represent my country Sudan, which is something I always strive to achieve.

What inspired the collection you submitted for your application?

YE: The beauty of my culture and homeland, Sudan, inspires almost all my collections. Sometimes it is more apparent, and other times it is more subtle. It is a great country with amazing potential, and I am using my design skills to illustrate this.

How would you describe the ethos of Boutique de Nana?

YE: I run my brand with sustainable ideals and a zero-waste concept. I aim to break stereotypes, bridge cultural gaps and advocate for inclusivity in the fashion industry, through the art of fashion design.

What kind of woman you think of when you create your designs? 

YE: A royal who isn’t necessarily an official monarch. Queens, trailblazers and change makers who appreciate sustainable, unique and out of this world one of a kind pieces with lots of soul.

What’s next for your brand?

YE: I hope to win FTA Prize in my category because their support and mentorship can help me achieve my short-term as well as long-term goals. I strive to one-day open flagships all over the world and be recognised as a brand for change-making. I would like to set up a BDN charity to work towards causes that I feel strongly about, like poverty, underage labour and girls’ education on a big scale.