The 'Queen of Scarves' is transforming the classic accessory, one video at a time

By Billie Miro Breskin

Photo: Courtesy of Claudya Moreira

Claudya Moreira talks heritage, style, and what’s next for her brand

To say that Claudya Moreira is popular would be an understatement. With one million followers on TikTok and over half that amount on Instagram, the content creator and businesswoman has built a career from inspiring styling videos, the majority of which centre around scarves. But Moreira doesn’t simply wrap scarves around her neck - that would be far too easy. Instead, she thinks outside the box, employing those silken squares to create countless looks. In one video, Moreira expertly folds a small scarf into a rose before tying it to her dress. In another, she affixes a scarf to her vest through the button holes, wrapping it around her waist and through her belt loops to create a cascade of colour. That kind of expertise is exactly what has made Moreira a master of her craft, propelling her to online success and supporting her own scarf brand, Zafia.


This hasn’t always been Moreira’s career, however. Before her work as an entrepreneur, model, and content creator, Moreira was an athlete, competing in track and field in the 100 metre hurdles event. While she has left that path, she appreciates all that it taught her: “One of the virtues that athletics instilled in me was resilience, consistency, hard work, believing in ourselves and never giving up even when the world is not on our side,” Moreira says. “I believe that is the greatest lesson I have learned from all this: believing in ourselves, never giving up, and overcoming obstacles step by step.”

Photo: Courtesy of Claudya Moreira

Photo: Courtesy of Claudya Moreira

True to that lesson, Moreira’s path to internet stardom hasn’t been without its own hurdles. She formally started on this path in 2020, growing her social media channels in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. It took trial and error to find her niche online, but once she identified user’s interest in her styling, her pages took off. When she set out to create Zafia, she faced many who doubted her capability and the brand’s potential to succeed. Of course, with her trademark elegance and incredible work ethic, Moreira proved them wrong. “You have to believe that you have the capacity to always learn more and better, and even if others doubt your choice, you will never give up” she emphasises. Her devoted followers speak to that tenacity and success, their appreciation for what she does evident in each like and comment.

I grew up watching my grandmother and other Cape Verdean women wear headscarves, each with their own originality and personality reflected in their choice of patterns and colours.

Claudya Moreira

In a way, however, Moreira began this journey long before 2020. “I grew up watching my grandmother and other Cape Verdean women wear headscarves, each with their own originality and personality reflected in their choice of patterns and colours,” Moreira says. Cape Verde has been a source of inspiration from the start, the women’s unique headscarves representative of the “the pursuit of originality and authenticity” that Moreira is committed to. “Professionally, I think I bring respect for traditions and customs, combined with creativity and a new way of seeing the scarf as much more than just an accessory” Moreira reflects, appreciating the “unique cultural richness and diversity” of Cape Verde.

Moreira’s viral reinvention of scarf styling has drawn attention to this heritage. “I believe that with these new styles I created, combined with the visibility I achieved online and the fact that I reached so many women in so many different places around the world, it ultimately contributes to drawing attention to this culturally significant element from Cape Verde and Africa in general,” Moreira says. While her inspiration originates from the Cape Verde archipelago, Moreira’s content and her brand are truly international endeavours. From spending her adolescence in Portugal to living in Switzerland for over a decade and taking a fashion course in London, Moreira has gained crucial perspective that expands the scope of her work; “I believe all of this contributes to my creations, showing how to reuse the scarf in ways that suit any gender, body, colour, or culture."

Photo: Courtesy of Claudya Moreira

Photo: Courtesy of Claudya Moreira

True to that belief, the customisable, do-it-yourself nature of Moreira’s content makes it highly accessible, a value that carries over to Zafia, which embodies the guiding principle, “one scarf, 1000 ways to wear it.” With a new Zafia collection on the horizon, Moreira is busier than ever, balancing business logistics and brand communication while creating content. While it may be a lot to take on, Moreira is more than capable of managing it all, an attribute that can be traced back to her pure passion for what she does. “For me, a scarf is much more than a simple accessory, and I use it whenever I can, depending on my mood and the moment,” she says, “I can create something more elegant or more daring, and I believe that is the secret to making the scarf an essential item for every woman's wardrobe."