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In Conversation with: Ong Bee Yan, Fashion for Cancer founder - Esse

In Conversation with: Ong Bee Yan, Fashion for Cancer founder

In a world where fashion and beauty have often been associated with superficiality, the Fashion For Cancer charity runway show is a remarkable movement that transcends appearances and celebrates the very core of human strength. Birthed out of Ong Bee Yan’s dream to bring hope and positivity to those battling cancer, the Fashion For Cancer charity runway show not only seeks to raise funds, but also allow cancer survivors to showcase their resilience, strength, and valiant efforts in battling cancer.

Fashion for Cancer founder Ong Bee Yan has experienced the devastating effects of cancer in her family firsthand - losing her uncle, mother, aunts and 2 cousins. On 18th September 2023, just 2 weeks after the inaugural launch of Fashion For Cancer 2023, her son Rong Liang, who had pancreatic cancer, passed away at the age of 38.

As his main caregiver, Yan witnessed the difficult toll that cancer and its treatments took on her son’s overall well-being - physically, emotionally, mentally. This motivated her to consider how she can bring positivity and hope to those struggling with cancer, even if it is just for a day.

This April, we are proud to support this movement and charity at Boutiques Fair. $2 from every sale and $10 from each product purchased from the Fashion for Cancer edit made at Esse’s booth at Boutiques Fair will be donated to Fashion For Cancer. Ahead of the events, we speak with Yan, who sheds light on the devastating effects of the illness, on celebrating the power of community and human strength, as well as her picks for the Esse x Fashion For Cancer edit.


Fashion for Cancer conversation with Yan


Fashion for Cancer is a very thoughtful and meaningful cause that shines the spotlight on true role models – cancer patients and survivors – who possess strength and resilience. We are honoured to support this cause. Would you like to share how proceeds will benefit cancer patients?

Yan: The proceeds from Fashion for Cancer charity fashion show and fringe fundraising activities by our partners such as Esse at Boutiques Fair will be donated to cancer research and financial support to cancer patients.



As someone who has experienced the loss of family members who have been diagnosed with cancer and as a primary caregiver to your son who suffered from cancer, what words of comfort/advice would you like to share with others who are in the same situation?

Yan: Each individual's situation is unique. I'd like to share my own personal journey as the primary caregiver to my son. Prioritizing spending quality time with him, every moment became invaluable, whether it was having roti prata (his favorite) for breakfast, accompanying him to chemotherapy and doctor's appointments or going on holidays with him. I attended to his every need and offered support – just being there for him through his moments of anger, sadness and pain. When I felt the need to cry, I would step away to cry privately so he doesn’t worry over me. The two years I spent with my son before his passing are precious memories I will forever hold close to my heart and cherish deeply.


Yan in the Wrap Vest and Elongate Pants in Lemon Drop. 


What are your hopes for Fashion for Cancer?

Yan: Fashion for Cancer was an inspiration from my son when he swaggered across the street like a supermodel at Kyoto, Japan. My hope is that it will grow bigger every year and more people and volunteers will come on board to support Fashion for Cancer charity fashion show. I hope that FFC continues to fulfill its 4 objectives:

1. To give one day of happiness to cancer survivors walking the stage as models.

2. For the cancer survivors to showcase proudly on stage their strength, resilience and courage overcoming cancer, giving hope to cancer patients who are undergoing treatment.

3. To raise funds for cancer research and provide financial aid to families who cannot afford the hefty cancer treatments.

4. For the fashion, lifestyle and entertainment community and companies to come together to offer their services, expertise, resources pro bono to support our cause.  


How can people lend their support to Fashion for Cancer?

Yan: These are the ways to support Fashion for Cancer -

1. Purchase goods and services from our fringe fundraising partners:

a. Esse @essethelabel at Boutiques Fair, April 26 – 28, 2024

b. Tomato Photo

c. The Social Space

d. Graye Studio @grayestudio

e. Re-store

f. Fashion for Cancer (@fashionforcancersg) booth at Boutiques Fair, April 26 – 28, 2024

2. Buy tickets to:

a. Charity Film Screening called " A Busman's Holiday" - directed and acted by my son Rong Liang – fulfilling his dream to direct a film. It was his first and last film. Tentative date on September 18 at Stella Seaside Lounge.

b. Charity Fashion Show. Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite:

3. Donate:

a. Corporate Donations to NCCS Cancer Fund can be made on For bank transfer or cheque please contact These donations are tax exempted.

b. Individual Donations to NCCS Cancer Fund can be made on These donations are tax exempted.

4. Share and shout-out: we greatly appreciate any sharing and shoutouts about our event(s). Please follow us on @fashionforcancersg and share or shout out all our posts on your social media platforms. Be sure to visit our website at for more information.


Yan in the Open Back Top and Elongate Pants in Lemon Drop. 


Tell us more about your Esse x FFC picks and why you selected these items.

Yan: I selected the Open Back Top paired with the coordinating inner crop for its trendy style without being overly revealing and also its adaptability. Additionally, I opted for The Wrap Vest and Elongate Elastic Pants as they offer versatility, perfect for both formal occasions and a more casual appearance. These designs exude timeless elegance, adaptability and comfort.


Yan in the Open Back Top (left) and Wrap Vest and Elongate Pants (right) in Lemon Drop. 


As a senior model, mother, wife and business-owner, tell us more about your philosophy towards fashion and staying stylish.

Yan: My philosophy towards fashion and staying stylish is a personal expression that age is just a number and should not deter us from looking good. I follow trends and enjoy adapting and experimenting the styles to suit my lifestyle and age. It has to make me feel confident, comfortable and authentic. I like pieces that can allow me to mix and match effortlessly. Ultimately, my philosophy towards fashion revolves around embracing age gracefully, celebrating my individuality and finding confidence in what I wear. It has to make me feel good and reveal my personality.


What is a quote/ motto that gets you through the difficult periods of life?

Yan: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 When I feel helpless and overwhelmed, I pray. God is my peace, comfort and strength.



Special thanks to Ong Bee Yan for being a part of the photoshoot and Tan Xinning, our photographer.

To learn more about how you can support the Fashion For Cancer runway show, visit

All items featured in the interview are part of the Esse x Fashion For Cancer edit. Support the cause at Esse’s booth at Boutiques Fair from 26 – 28 April 2024.


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