MOGA Takes PRIDE In Love and Unification
MOGA re-launches their first ever PRIDE headscarf with a very special (and colourful) Mardi Gras themed campaign to show support for marriage equality in Australia. The first Muslim-owned fashion label to do so.
When we first learnt about MOGA – a fashion brand and online retailer of women’s headscarves and shawls from Melbourne, Australia – what struck us was their bold and unique designs. But what struck us more was the brand’s underlining mission and message to the world – to empower women in their right to receive an education. As such 20% of their profits are used to help young girls attend secondary schools in some of the world’s more vulnerable regions where they are sadly not given an equal opportunity to learn.
“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,” said Azahn Munas, founder of MOGA, from our interview in February 2017. (Tap here to read the interview from our February 2017 issue.)
A fashion label that strives to be an inclusive brand that accepts women regardless of race, religion and culture, MOGA made the news last year for reaching out to prominent, Islamophobic senator, Pauline Hanson, who is known for her controversial political views.
“We have always considered ourselves to be an activist brand that publicly fights for issues that are important to us,” said Azahn.
Always one to push the conversation to unchartered territories, MOGA released its first ever PRIDE headscarf and shawl last year, to support the marriage equality movement in Australia and the LGTBQ+ community and their undying commitment towards love, acceptance and inclusivity.
“The idea (of the PRIDE scarf) came about when we wanted to publicly show our support for marriage equality in Australia. The plebiscite and postal vote on whether same sex couples should have the right to marry has brought out some rather unpleasant and nasty rhetoric recently. We wanted to counter the negativity and hatred with a message of love and unification, which has always been at forefront of our brand,” said Azahn Munas.
As a Muslim owned fashion label with a large Islamic following, MOGA was unsure if the scarf would receive a negative reaction, given many religions are still largely intolerant towards LGBTQ+ causes such as marriage equality.
“We were of course a little concerned with a potential backlash against our brand by conservatives who do not agree with our values of love and acceptance. It is never our intention to hurt or offend anyone, but sometimes there is a bigger picture at play. Our brand prides itself on being inclusive of ALL individuals, regardless of their race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation / identity. If some people don't agree with that, there is not much we can do about it besides sticking to our own values and promote a safe environment of tolerance and acceptance for our fans,” said Azahn.
However, they were thrilled with the almost unanimously positive response received from their fans and the fact that the PRIDE scarf sold out in just 6 days! They did, however, manage to save their very last scarf to send to former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who was sadly one of the most vocal supporters of the No campaign.
“Thankfully, the response has been overwhelmingly positive! To date, we have not received a single negative private message on our official social media accounts or through our customer enquiries e-mail. Instead, we have had messages from all over the world from our fans who reside in Muslim countries and non-Muslim countries who have thanked us for acknowledging their identity and making such a pro-inclusive statement. We are so thrilled with the response so far and hope it continues to be a positive one,” Azahn continues.
Gay marriage is now legal in Australia and MOGA’s PRIDE scarf has re-launched, and just in time for one of the largest parades in the world, the 40th annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras! And with music icon Cher set to headline the after party, this year’s festivities are bound to be the biggest (and most colourful) yet!
“We want to acknowledge that LGBTIQ individuals exist in every city, country, society, race and religion. Sadly, many still live in fear of persecution for simply being themselves. We want to give these individuals an identity and recognition and let them know that they are not alone, nor are they bad people. Ultimately, we want to foster a community of openness and tolerance where people aren't afraid to be themselves and can truly embrace their identity,” explains Azahn when asked his ultimate goal with the PRIDE scarf.
To celebrate this momentous occasion with the LTGBTQ+ community, MOGA has created a very special Mardi Gras themed campaign, which would be the first time a Muslim owned fashion label has done so. MOGA has even recruited their first ever male ambassadors to help spread the love and demonstrate the multi-purpose use of the PRIDE scarf! Featuring veteran drag performer Mable Syrup, bisexual model & activist Kalida Edwards and all-round hunk Chris McCubbin, their latest photo series sums up the fun, festive and colourful spirit of Mardi Gras.
MOGA’s campaign aims to highlight the diversity of crowds who attend the Sydney Mardi Gras each year, which include members of the LGBTQ+ community and their many supporters and allies. They also wanted to celebrate the diverse nature of their fans, who range from trendy Muslim ‘hijabsters’ to festival goers to drag queens, who all love the bold and colourful designs.
With over 500,000 people expected to attend Mardi Gras this year, the PRIDE scarf will ensure that you stand out WITH the crowd and embrace the rainbow spirit. It truly is the must have accessory for your next festival, PRIDE march or gay wedding! “And if anyone tries to rain on your parade, always remember that people, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality are equal and are always welcome to love,” Azahn Munas.
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