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  1. Emily Somers wearing one of her headscarves for Bravery Co.
    Photograph: Haydn Cattach
  2. Bravery Co. founder Emily Somers wearing one of her headscarves.
    Photograph: Haydn Cattach

Bravery Co. sells stylish headscarves for the cancer warriors in your life

After beating cancer three times, Emily Somers decided to do her part to help those battling cancer feel more confident

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier

Emily Somers was living the typical life of a 20-something Melburnian. She worked as an art director, lived in Cremorne with two of her best mates, travelled heaps and went to lots of music festivals. Just shy of turning 27, life decided to throw a spanner in the works: Somers was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Somers beat cancer but was diagnosed a second time. She beat cancer a second time, only to be diagnosed with it a third time. She then beat it again. For a lot of people this roller coaster would be enough to fill you with pessimism, but for Somers it inspired a business idea.

Somers’ second stint with cancer made her realise that the cancer headwear market was mostly filled with daggy or overly clinical looking pieces. 

“They're mostly aimed at a much older lady, and it’s not very fashionable,” says Somers. “They don’t show chicks being strong and resilient and powerful and still stylish and fashionable despite losing their hair.” 

Unimpressed, she sought inspiration online from photos of 1930s Hollywood stars wearing headscarves and began playing around with the concept and wearing them around the chemo wards. 

“Other cancer warriors would stop me and ask how I tied them, so I’d whip off my scarf and show them,” says Somers. “As soon as I helped them, they felt so much better about themselves and walked taller and were happier. I realised there’s something in this: if you look good, it helps you feel better.” 

The idea gained traction. Somers decided to start Bravery Co in 2016 as a company that creates designer headwear for cancer warriors. Somers has enlisted the help of artists and brands like Kip&Co, Eve Bracewell and Ellie Whittaker to create dazzling patterns inspired by subjects like native flora and the female figure, among other things. 

Each scarf comes with a guide on how to tie it into a turban, and ten per cent of all profits go towards cancer research. You can browse and purchase the products on the online store, and the scarves are also stocked in stores around Melbourne including Think Thornbury and QVMC Makers.

If you’re artistically inclined, Somers’ is hosting a design competition calling out for artists and illustrators to enter for a chance to work on her 2022 collection. Follow @braveryco on Instagram for more details. 

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