MU'UMU'U HEAVEN is a fun-loving, Earth-loving, vintage-loving, ohana-loving, beautiful dress-loving, music-loving, ocean-loving clothing brand based on Oahu, HI.
Deb Mascia, Owner and founder of MU'UMU'U HEAVEN began with the concept of creating beautiful, quality products while minimizing the impact on the world. Since Mu'umu'u Heaven began in 2005, she has worked predominately with Vintage Mu'umu'u and after a stint traveling and exploring, she is now returning to her recycling roots and creating new magic.
More on designer Deb Mascia HERE!
More about Muumuu Heaven and designer Deb Mascia
- by T Galleria Hawaii
Originally published on metropolis.co.jp, July 2010
Muumuus aren’t generally associated with high fashion. The shapeless sacks, often in eye-wateringly loud colors and patterns, have long been the go-to garb for those who value comfort far more than presentability. So why is the apparel from Muumuu Heaven appearing in fashion mags like Glamour and Figaro Japan? By transforming old garments into fashionable clothes, accessories and even housewares, the Hawaiian boutique is making a name for itself among Japan’s stylish set.
But, as designer and owner Deb Mascia tells Metropolis, the idea is not just to look pretty, it’s about living sustainably. “Muumuu Heaven started with the idea of creating beautiful, quality products while minimizing the impact of our young company on the world,” she says.
A native of Melbourne, Mascia never intended to become a businessperson in a faraway Pacific island. She planned to go into the theater, but after setting off on an around-the-world trip at age 21, a chance meeting changed her life. She met a young man named Eric in Waikiki, and she couldn’t get him off her mind—even as she flew to California the next day. At the same time, he was busy calling hostels trying to get in touch with her. The two finally reconnected, she went back to Hawaii, and they decided it was love. They are now married and raising a son while running the business together.
Mascia says she got the idea for recycling the colorful fabrics from muumuus and aloha shirts when she was volunteering at a thrift store. “Each week, bags of these beautiful fabrics were being thrown into the dumpster. I had to save them and recreate them into something new,” she says.
Originally, the pieces were just supposed to be cheap, fun clothes for Mascia and her family. But every time she wore them out, she’d be besieged by passersby asking where they could buy something similar. The former PR agent knew she was on to something, and began selling her clothes at trunk shows. An online shop followed in 2005, and the boutique in Kailua debuted in 2007.
After MH items appeared in Japanese fashion and travel magazines, the shop became a popular destination, particularly among younger travelers—figure skater Daisuke Takahashi is a customer. Mascia says she isn’t surprised by the international allure.
“Hawaii is a very special place,” she says. “It has a magical appeal, from its beaches to its mountains, its people and lifestyle. And, just like an aloha shirt, it makes people smile and feel casual and fun. I think our clothes exude that in each individual piece.”
Of course, Muumuu Heaven’s eco-friendly aspects also resonate with enlightened consumers everywhere.
“There are many people in the world right now looking to live with more consciousness,” Mascia explains. “Our business philosophy is all about ‘aloha’… That means doing as much good as you can do, being friendly, caring about what you are putting into the universe without taking.”
Muumuu Heaven’s commitment to the environment starts with the sourcing of its materials, but it doesn’t end there. One percent of all sales support the preservation of Hawaii’s reefs through the organization 1% For the Planet. Their website also offers links to the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, a non-political movement that aims to demonstrate a consensus that global warming exists and demands action.
“We were determined right from the start that every business decision we made had to be weighed against our idea of social and corporate responsibility,” Mascia says. In short, they wanted to do good, and what’s more fashionable than that?