Silky smooth and stylish, Bravery Co scarves are mood-enhancing headwear for those experiencing hair loss

Silky smooth and stylish, Bravery Co scarves are mood-enhancing headwear for those experiencing hair loss

“I guess the beginning of Bravery is the beginning of my medical saga,” says Emily Somers, 37, who was 26 and working as an art director in Melbourne when she first found out she had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.

“It completely rocked my world. I think my first thought was ‘Am I going to die?’ and then very shortly after: ‘Am I going to lose my hair?’”

After treatment and getting the go-ahead, Somers received devastating news just six months later: the cancer had returned. “If getting the first diagnosis was shocking, having a relapse was devastating,” she says. bed sheet.

Somers chose to approach her hair loss differently the second time around; she sought out headscarves instead of wigs for a confidence-boosting way of dressing. “It was the middle of summer and the wig was really hot and itchy so I sat in front of YouTube and learned how to wrap a turban.

“I started getting stopped on the streets of Fitzroy and in hospital chemotherapy rooms, and that’s where the idea for Bravery was formed. Other hat brands were so bold and aimed at older women, so I wanted to design my own.”

In 2016, Somers launched her online store, Bravery Co, with nine designs. Six years later, the business has grown to include over 50 super-soft modal silk scarf designs, each a collaboration with leading designers and illustrators.

Gadigal artist Kate ConstantineMelbourne illustrator beci orpinpolish designer Maggie Stephensonand the brands Slowdown Studio and Kip & Co have collaborated with Bravery Co. Among the designs, one of the most popular is that of Eve Bracewell wattle warrior design, which has a deep navy blue background and red native flowers, including waratah and gumdrop.

“Your head can get quite sensitive when you go through treatment, so it needs to be the right softness, shape and size,” says Somers, who works at a small silk factory in Hangzhou, China, who pays her employees. an above-average salary – to make the 100 x 200 centimeter scarves.

While Bravery Co is an online store, it is also a larger support platform for people with cancer. “We share a lot of stories, and not just my own story,” says Somers, noting Bravery’s Instagram page In particular. It offers tutorials on wrapping scarves and interviews with others who have had or have cancer. “I don’t shy away from being scary; I try to show their resilience and strength, as well as their vulnerability.”

For every scarf purchased, $2 is donated to Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation in Melbourne. Somers estimates that she has given him $10,000 since he started the business; she also gives scarves to women in treatment. “It’s lovely to give them directly to the person who’s going to wear them, to make them more excited to get through the day.”

Somers’ journey with cancer didn’t end with the launch of her business. In 2019, he had a third diagnosis, this time sarcoma, a form of cancer that begins in tissues such as bone or muscle. “Three is a really good number to finish off with,” she says with a laugh. “It sucked, but he gave me a really scary insight into cancer… He also gave Bravery a change of tone. Now I understand that some cancers are something that are managed forever.

Bravery Co remains a small operation, managed mainly from Somers’ home in Melbourne, with items shipped from Black Rock in Victoria. Each batch of scarves is digitally printed in small batches to limit waste, and in addition to the online store, you can also pick up one of Bravery’s scarves at Queen Victoria Women’s Center in Melbourne and St Kilda’s Space2b Social Design.

Bravery Co head scarves start from $119, which can be shipped nationwide via Australia Post.

braveryco.com.au
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