SHE’S still only 14, but ambitious young fashion designer Myra Yusuf is already hitting the High Street with one of her creations.
Myra, a pupil at Rastrick High School, is this year’s winner of the White Rose Shopping Centre Young Fashion Designer competition – beating 1,000 other hopefuls to the title.
The Birkby teenager saw her winning design – a slinky off-the-shoulder dress inspired by both the Burberry and Chanel labels – modelled on the catwalk at the final of the competition last week. It will be going into production for sale in selected Republic stores across the UK.
Myra also won £250 and an all-expenses-paid trip for two to London Fashion Weekend.
The competition, now in its sixth year, is designed to find new design talent from the region and is open to young people aged between nine and 16.
Myra, who is in Year 10 and has just started her GCSE course, is entirely self taught. “I look at magazines and online to study the latest trends and then make mood boards and drawings of my designs,” she explained.
She pursues her interest as an extra-curricular subject on top of the GCSEs she is taking in English, maths, science, sociology, drama and history.
It is Myra’s ambition to study fashion at university and ultimately work in theatrical costume design.
One of her favourite icons is the flamboyant pop star Lady Gaga, known for her extravagant and show-stopping style.
As the youngest of four sisters – she also has two brothers – Myra says she gets a lot of help from other members of the family.
Her parents, Mohammed and Naseem Yusuf, encourage their daughter’s talent and paid to have one of her designs, an East-meets-West dress with elements of both traditional Asian and Western fashions, professionally sewn for her to wear at last month’s Eid celebrations.
With one sister studying to be a fashion photographer and another training to be a Chanel beauty consultant, Myra comes from an artistic family with a keen interest in style.
“One of my sisters bought me a subscription to Vogue magazine,” she said, “I cut pictures out and use them on my mood boards.”
Myra says she’s been interested in fashion since she was 11 and enjoys making accessories. Although she likes to wear Asian clothes some of the time, she is usually dressed in a mixture of Western and Asian styles.
Her winning outfit will go into production pretty much as she designed it.
“They said it was a commercially viable design,” said Myra. “I looked at the trends and knew the military look was going to be in but decided to make it a bit more feminine. When I saw it made up for the catwalk it was as I thought it would be, but a bit shorter.”
The dress will go into stores in November. Paul Smith, marketing manager at the White Rose, said: “Myra blew the judges away with her forward thinking and on-trend design. We’re excited about seeing the dress going on sale.”
Sharon Poulter, group marketing manager at Republic, added: It’s great that young people across the region have been given the chance to show off their design skills and we hope our involvement will really help to boost Myra’s design credentials and help her in the future if she decides to pursue fashion design.”
Myra now has her sights set on the forthcoming Clothes Show Live design title and is already working on some new ideas.