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Blending Culture and Conservation

Fanm Djanm Founder and Creative Director Paola Mathé discuss the empowerment of eco-friendly fashion

Translating to “strong woman” in Haitian Kreyol, Fanm Djanm is a business centered around inspiring women through thoughtfully prepared pieces. Before blossoming into what it is today, Fanm Djanm was the idea of social entrepreneur Paola Mathé, based on her heritage and love of color.

“I used to wear headwraps all of the time. After being stopped countless times and looking around for a shop that offers them, I couldn’t find one,” says Mathé. “I decided to start a brand that focused primarily on headwraps. I started by myself in my tiny studio apartment in Harlem, and sold them on the weekends on folded tables at markets and on the streets.”

Now, Mathé has a team and a storefront in Austin, and has shipped tens of thousands of headwraps around the world. Fanm Djanm has evolved into a zero-waste company, transparently creating sustainable practices without sacrificing product quality.

“In Haiti, I went to a Catholic school where we all looked the same and were expected to act the same,” says Mathé. “How do we create a beautiful life if we’re constantly thinking about ways to fit in and only live to make others comfortable? I say live boldly, but do it your way.”

For Mathé, style is not just the designer you wear, but colors, lines, shapes, textures, and occasions. Style is the way you choose to greet the world every day, expressing yourself rather than impressing others.