SAM X MCMASTER AFGHAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION (ASA)

Interviewees: Muhbooba Yoqoub and Reza Malek

First off, tell us about ASA, and what made you want to join?

M: Afghan Student Association is a club that has a family aspect to it. 

M: Family aspect was the biggest thing for me to join. I grew up in Canada for 17 years and I didn’t know much about my culture and about Afghanistan. So joining this club, meeting the members, and learning things like the different accents we have, how we speak and the small things like the food we make slowly made me become apart of a big family. And its growing every year. 

R: For me, I joined ASA because I was an international student and I found a second family here, a home away from home. I came here from Dubai - I just recently migrated with my whole family and I made a lot of friends. I met Muhbooba too. We’re together now and its the club that did this. I love the friends I made because they really helped me out in the beginning here. 

How would you describe Afghan fashion?

M: It’s an incorporation of Indian and Middle Eastern style; it’s very traditional but can be modernized as well. Afghan clothing is very colourful and we put a lot of work into our details. The traditional clothes that we wear are usually meant for dancing and doing the cultural dances. 

What’s the difference between men and women’s clothing?

M: Most girls have a giant skirt and it’s really tight on the hips, which allows us to spin and do our dance. For guys, they wear a designed top and vest and it’s to compliment the female. Most of the clothes are for dancing and it relates to one another. 

R: Men’s clothing are more comfortable, roomy, and spacious so we have no worries. More detailing goes into the ladies clothing - as far as men’s, it’s also detailed, but the male and female outfits are meant to compliment each other.

How would you describe your personal style? Does Afghan fashion serve as a source of inspiration?

R: I would love to have an additional style implemented to my current clothing but because of the lack of availability here, it makes it difficult to do so. I’ve only been to Afghanistan once too. Even the clothes I’m wearing now - my brother ordered them from Afghanistan and sent it here. 

There is this mens’ hat that’s really nice and adds a certain style to our clothes. But that’s all I can think of. 

M: For girls, I love the traditional necklaces they have. Those traditional, heavy, necklaces. I have a lot of those so I like to wear them with my regular clothing, just to feel authentic, like back in the days. Other things I do is wearing skirts since all Afghan dresses incorporate skirts … but mostly, I love the authentic necklaces.

What’s your favourite fashion trend, and your not-so-favourite?

R: My favourite fashion trend are suits. It makes me look professional. I’m not much of a casual guy, I’m more formal and semi-formal. 

M: I hate crocs! And Uggs too! It’s the cloth. I blame the environment, because the salt they put on it … I can’t stand it! 

Are there any upcoming ASA events that we should be on the lookout for?

M: One of our biggest events is coming up in March - it is our New Years formal! We don’t follow the traditional calendar, we follow our own calendar. So when the first day of spring happens, which is March 21st, that’s our New Years and we’re having a formal called Nowruz. There’s certain things you do that day and certain rituals

R: Basically you plant grass and fruits or objects that starts with the letter c in farsi. Like apple, grass, and vinegar start with the letter c in farsi. There’s a lot of things like this we go through as rituals.

M: The event is on March 16th and is held in Grand Olympia in Hamilton. We’re hoping for a huge turnout and our singer is Sameer Ahmadi, who is a well known singer. There is also a tabla (a drummer). Ticket sale are happening now for $40! Contact Samambo Aram (samamboa@gmail.com) or Liza Samadi (samadiliza@gmaiil.com) to learn more and purchase tickets.

Interviewer: Arsha Khan

Are you a club or local Hamilton business with a passion for style? DM or email us at sam.styleatmac@gmail.com to collab!