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“How I went from Microbiology student to sustainable Fashion Designer”

Yasmin Yau, 21, is a Nottingham student who launched her own business over lockdown. Specialising in hair accessories, Yau Bands is the ultimate scrunchie-based side hustle. As well as making serious waves across Instagram, Yasmin has also been featured in Glamour Magazine. Naturally we had to meet her… 

Hi Yasmin! Thanks so much for chatting with us today! First things first, can you tell us about your business? 

My business is hand-making hair accessories that are unique and special for all of my customers. I love expressing myself through my clothes and accessories and I think it is important to do this. The materials I work with are predominantly up-cycled. I also source some material from local businesses – as I love to support others! I love the idea of upcycling, making something old new again, giving it a new lease of life. I understand the importance of recycling and I have loved learning about it too.

What inspired you to start a business during lockdown? 

I have always loved being creative, and during lockdown I had more time on my hands to really enjoy designing. I am a third-year Microbiology student, which means a lot of my time is devoted to my degree. During lockdown I had the extra time to re-learn how to use the sewing machine and have a creative burst which led to my Yau Bands business. I thought these unique accessories were perfect to send as a little gift to friends and family to let them know you’re thinking of them during this time. Lockdown was the perfect opportunity for me to balance my time between revision and enjoying creating these individual pieces.

We love that your business is super sustainable. Can you tell us more about how you promote sustainability? 

On my Yau Bands Instagram account I provide some information to my followers on how to take those first steps into buying sustainably and why it is of such importance. Moving away from fast fashion and buying responsibly! We as consumers have power over the fashion industry, it is all about taking the first steps to start buying sustainably. There are so many ways we can all help through donating suitable clothes to charity shops, if clothes are unwearable you can look into shops in your local area that collect and recycle clothing or even get creative and make something (the finished product is so rewarding!) With a lot of my products being upcycled my customers are able to buy unique handmade accessories without feeling guilty! I love the idea of making something old new again – giving it a new lease of life.

Is this something you will continue post-Covid? Fingers crossed that ever becomes a reality? 

Yes 100%! I absolutely love making Yau Bands and I love seeing the joy they bring to my customers. I want to carry on teaching my following about slow fashion and sustainable buying until it becomes part of their everyday lives. I am so grateful for the support and love Yau Bands has got so far and hope it continues!

And finally, what would be your advice to Debut readers thinking of starting their own businesses?

My advice to Debut readers is to follow your heart and dream big – anything is possible! I never thought I would be running a small business being only 20 and alongside my studies. I am so inspired by other successful women running their own businesses and especially by those promoting sustainable and ethical products! You could be the inspiration of another’s creativity burst!

You can follow Yau Bands on Instagram


Fashion, Features

Lucy Morgan

Lucy Morgan View All

Lucy is an English Literature and Law graduate. As well as editing for Debut, she’s written for Cosmopolitan UK, Grazia and London College of Style. She is particularly passionate about books, beauty and social justice, recognising their transformative impact in modern society.

Fave quote: ‘Tenderness is what love feels like in private. Justice is what love looks like in public’ – Dr Cornel West

“The creative industries are notoriously difficult to break into – now more than ever. I love working for Debut as we give unpublished writers, designers and PRs the opportunity to jump-start their portfolio; as well as releasing daily content that connects with women and non-binary people across the world.”


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