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Fair trade fashion supporting education in Cambodia.

The Artisans

The Artisans

Our beautiful scarves are crafted by the Heng family on the island village of Prek Bongkong in Cambodia. The village, 20 miles away from Phnom Penh and accessible by ferry across the Mekong River, is a small rural commune inhabited by warm hospitable local Cambodians. Despite the picturesque landscape and friendly natives, there is limited access to resources for development. The Heng family has found a niche of using their ancient craft of hand weaving silk to survive and thrive.  

The Heng Family takes pride in their art and it shows with the incredible detail and time they devote. Each scarf is a piece of art which requires astonishing skill and time to craft. Therefore, the Heng Family offers an extremely limited amount of their hand-made silk scarves; only 50 each month!

We pulled into a home that had a few looms and seemed interesting. The silk was shimmering from where I parked my moto; the glowing reds, yellows, greens, pinks, and oranges reflected like jewels. We were greeted by an English speaking girl named Naysim. Naysim and her family specialize in hand weaving silk for scarves, sarongs, ceremonial attire, and decoration. I watched as her family members worked. Their hands swiftly moved through their medium with such concentration and talent. It was amazing seeing them produce their art, and it really made me appreciate the final product that much more. Naysim brought out a handful of silk from a tin roofed shack connected to their open aired workshop, both under their stilted house. She put the silk out on the table and began telling us which of her family members made each piece. "My aunt make this one... and this one, purple one, my sister make... this one very beautiful my mom make."

- taken from company Founder Jake's blog.  http://cambodianthreads.tumblr.com

The Family

Naysim: the oldest daughter at 22 is the family member given the most financial support to further her education. She completed her high school and was awarded a partial grant to continue studying at the National University of Management in Phnom Penh where she is currently working through her third year. She speaks the best English in the family and thus has been given the responsibility of being the family's liaison with English speaking guests. Her real talent is her ability to design intricate and innovative patterns with the scarves. In her future, she hopes to get married and continue working in the family silk shop.

Naychheng: The lovely and energetic 20 year old daughter is following in her older sister's foot-steps as she spends most of her time working in the shop and studying her first year at the Human Resource University. She also is a very talented weaver and specializes in long scarves with multi-colored patterns.

Naysiv: The third daughter in the family at 18 years-old collaborates however possible for her family's success. She suffered from an unknown parasite sickness for the past year and with her family's support, she is now feeling much better and is trying to complete her final year of high school. The sickness left her body frail yet her personality is as vibrant as the scarves she produces.

Mengleang: The only son in the family at 16 years-old has been trained by his older sisters to weave silk and despite his clumsy teenage physique, he is an extremely talented craftsman. He is still enrolled in the local Preah Takov high school. When he is not studying or weaving silk, he enjoys playing football and going for walks with friends.

Money: The youngest daughter at 14 years-old is still learning the art of weaving and contributes however the family needs. As an adorable teenage girl, Money reminds us of the innocence of the world with one shy smile. She also attends the Preah Takov high school.

Sok Eang: The Heng Family would be nothing without the mother. Sok Eang, a 45 years-old youthful woman, is a loving and caring maternal figure who has dealt with confrontation and conflict throughout her life. She was left to raise the family alone after her husband died 15 years ago. Even though she was forced to leave her home and made to work in horrible field conditions under the Pol Pot regime, she walks and speaks with amazing grace and beauty. She moved back to her home village after her husband died and started working alongside her sister Nyeub (40 years-old) and her cousin Vannary (55 years-old) to create the silk shop that they currently have. When asked who taught her how to weave silk, she responded "family tradition, long time in Cambodia." The Heng family stability can largely be attributed to Sok Eang's resilience.

There are also many other family relatives that are frequently a part in the silk weaving process.