The Fon Fabrics Story
FON Fabrics is founded by Hester de Vries. The FON Top is a co-creation of Hester, Noan Harn and her team of artisan weavers.
The two women met in 2011 in Chiangmai, Thailand. Hester was working for We women foundation (a foundation that promotes the education of ethnic women from marginalized communities in Myanmar) and Noan Harn as a ‘We women’ student. They connected through their shared passion. Both women see social entrepreneurship as a tool to drive positive change in communities.
“It was my dream to develop a local business, for local people, creating more jobs and better development in my community” (Noan Harn). Noan Harn employed and trained women from her remote village and started her own successful weaving business serving the local market.
“I’ve always loved the bright colors, wide variety of patterns and fabrics of Myanmar’s traditional dress: the Longyi. When wifi became a bit accessible to her area, Noan Harn was able to share these beautiful handwoven creations. That’s when I knew I wanted to visit her even though she lives very remotely.” (Hester).
After Hester’s visit in January 2018 her intention turned into reality, bringing these traditional designs to the west; the first Fon Tops were born.
FON means rain in the Shan language. This name is chosen to honor ‘Life’ and Shan Culture. It is also the name of Noan Harn’s second daughter who is born at the same time as our FON Tops. In western cultures we often dislike rain, in other cultures like the Shan culture it is loved and honored.
“‘Fon means a lot for Shan people in Myanmar as our life is based on agriculture. We need rain to grow our food.” (Noan Harn)
How does my FON Top purchase support Local Community?
Your purchase supports an ethical and inclusive local business that inspires women and creates jobs in Myanmar.
Your purchase also helps facilitate Personal Development workshops for We women foundation and the Taunggy Youth Center. These workshops train young minority women and men in leadership by supporting their values, gifts, skills and passion.
About the Founder
Hester has been living in Asia since 2011. Her journey brought her to Pai, Thailand (near the Burma border) where she lives a simple life, started a family and worked with local communities.
“What I love about my life here is the connection with the land and the elements, and sharing this magic with my community.
One of my favorite things about where I live is my neighbor the ‘cow herder’. This man is so connected to his land and his cows. I love watching him. He has the most beautiful smile and I love how gentle and caring he is with his cows. He leads a simple but satisfying life.”
I feel that in ‘the West’ we have lost something that can be found in other cultures such as the Shan culture. This connection to nature is reflected in their woven fabrics.
My wish is to share these bright colors and patterns in the hope that people feel the same connection to the earth we live on.” (Hester)
She is a newbie to the fashion industry. Her background is in ‘development work’, although she doesn’t like that term. “I believe in human connection, and see value where others might see hardships and injustice. I’m not ignoring that reality but choose to shed light on the beauty and chances this world has to offer and in doing so I believe we can change the world one bit at the time”.
She founded FON Fabrics to share that beauty to the western world, while supporting Local Community, Tribal Craftsmanship and Young Shan Women from Myanmar.