MOGA - Unites Women Through Vibrant Colours & Speaks Out Against Discrimination
MOGA has introduced itself to the world with its virtual store going live. This unique online retailer designs and sells simple yet bold and unique scarves made of 100% silk (Crepe de Chine).
Working with the CARE Foundation, 20% of profits will be used to help send young girls to primary and secondary school in some of Pakistan’s most volatile communities.
MOGA is owned and founded by 22 year old Azahn Munas, a recent graduate from RMIT University’s Bachelor of Communication (Advertising) Program. The start-up was born out of the desire to celebrate self-expression and to unite different communities of people around the world through their love for fashion.
The bright and bold designs aim to celebrate the individuality and personal style of MOGA’s wearers with innovative new digital printing techniques. Whether or not the wearer utilises the scarves for religious or cultural reasons, MOGA aims to bring women together and empower them through fabric and colour. At a time where headscarves have become a rather contentious topic, MOGA wishes to challenge negative stereotypes and remove the stigma surrounding this multi-purpose garment. “At the end of the day, a scarf is a piece of fabric and can be worn in so many different ways by so many different people. It should be something that brings people together as opposed to keeping them apart. We at MOGA want our customers to be empowered every time they put on one of our scarves; to feel like no one or nothing could bring them down when they look so good,” Azahn Munas, founder. MOGA will release its products through limited edition collections to ensure its wearer own an exclusive item. MOGA’s debut collection, ‘SPECTRA’ will be available online soon, giving a powerful launch to the philanthropic online fashion brand.
Azahn Munas Speaks to GAYA
Those who are familiar with MOGA know that the brand prides itself on being an inclusive fashion label, one that caters to all women. What made you decide to go beyond the niche market of veiled Muslim women?
We have always wanted to be a cross over brand, one that appeals to both Muslim and non-Muslim women. We realized our product was incredibly versatile and really, could be worn in
so many different ways, by so many different people.
As a result, we wanted to push the boundaries in what was deemed ‘conventional’ or ‘normal’ for our brand like ours so we could be as diverse and inclusive as possible.
Thankfully, it really seems to have worked as our fans range from trendy hijabsters to even hippies at festivals who love our bright colours!
MOGA's mission to empower girls and women includes donating 20% of profits to CARE Foundation which helps young girls in Pakistan gain access to education. What inspired you to dedicate your work to this cause?
In terms of the brand’s perspective, this really made sense to us because our product is all about helping women look and feel good about themselves. With our CSR policy, our fans not only get to feel good but also help other women who aren’t as fortunate as themselves have a chance at a better life.
On a more personal level, however, I was definitely inspired to contribute to charity by my father, who sadly passed away 3 years ago but always instilled in me the mindset to give back to those who are less fortunate than myself.
I have also been lucky enough to be surrounded by many successful and educated women in my family. My mother, my grandmother and my aunts on both sides of the family have been incredibly successful in their respective fields and all contribute greatly to society. It would be an amazing accomplishment if more women around the world were given the same opportunity to succeed by getting an education.
We understand that MOGA recently sent a scarf along with an open letter to Australia's One Nation leader, Senator Pauline Hanson, who is known for her controversial political views. What made you decide to make that move?
I was prompted to send the scarves to Senator Hanson after witnessing the rise in inflammatory rhetoric being made against countless minorities during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. I sent the scarves after Pauline Hanson publicly endorsed his victory and said he was always welcome at her One Nation party. The scarves were sent as a show of multicultural solidarity in the hope that such negative comments made against Muslims and other minorities will never gain as much momentum in Australia like it has in the US.
Needless to say, Senator Hanson requested to return the scarf. What message do you think this will make/send?
It was a little disappointing that she requested to return the scarves. However, I wasn’t surprised or offended. I knew it was a long shot but was glad to be able to speak openly about an issue that was important to me. The message it sends is rather alienating but I want to remind young people that the loudest voices aren’t always the most correct and that they should always be proud of their identity and what makes them unique.
Recently, a well-known retailer in Australia released a catalogue that was met with mixed responses because it featured a hijabi mother. While many people applauded the retailer for its inclusive advertising, there were also many others who were outraged. Despite Australia being a diverse country with people of different races and religions living in peace, we are unfortunately beginning to see a divide in the social landscape. What is your opinion on this? Do you think Australia is following in the steps of the US?
There definitely seems to be a growing divide in the social landscape that is happening not just in the US but across parts of Europe too. I am confident, however, that Australia is not following in the footsteps of the US. There are many more factors at play in America that have resulted in its current social divide. Only time will tell if Australia will also head down that road, but I think our population is a lot more tolerant and accepting than we get credit for. For instance, a recent billboard for Australia Day that showed two Muslim girls holding the Australian flag was taken down because of threats madeby right wing racists. Once the media reported this,a crowd fund campaign wasstarted to get the billboardreinstated. They ended upraising over $100,000 and thebillboard will now be displayedin all major cities across the entirecountry and appear in newspapersas well! I think this a fantastic example of how accepting and kindthe majority of Australians are andhow our society is truly an inclusiveone at its core.