The scarves from the Ashley Jeanne project are beautiful: Made in Brooklyn with fabrics sourced from the Garment District, each one is screen printed on 100 percent silk twill. But it's not the handiwork that makes these scarves so special -- it's the fact that they're made to be given to local cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Ashley Granata got the idea for the Ashley Jeanne project after inheriting her grandmother's beloved scarf collection -- a collection that was more important than she initially realized. "I saw after she passed away that she had been a cancer survivor and I never knew anything about that," Granata tells us. "Then I thought it would be really interesting to give people who are going through chemotherapy something to help them power through that treatment."
That's when the FIT grad and textile designer decided to use her talents to launch Ashley Jeanne. "It feels like major insult to major injury that you're really sick and you lose control of your appearance as you lose control of your health," Granata says. "I thought it would be nice to be able to give someone an item right at the start of their treatment so that they can at least take a little bit of control over the way that they look."
Granata took to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to launch her campaign. For every $50 raised at any level, she gives a scarf to a cancer patient at Brooklyn Hospital -- a bargain for something so gorgeous and well made. "For the most part, scarves can be really expensive," she explains. "Especially for someone who's dealing with really large medical bills."
And Granata isn't just giving to cancer patients. There is a gift on offer at nearly every donation level, from an iPad-ready scarf-tying tutorial available for $25 to a one-for-one style deal at the $125 price point. There's even a package at the $5,000 level, which ensures 100 scarves will be given to a treatment center of choice.
Right now, Granata is just working with the American Cancer Society patient outreach at Brooklyn hospital, but if she has it her way, it won't stop there. The project currently has a goal of $25,000, which will help officially launch the line and its one-for-one model.
"After we hit the goal, if people want to specify where they want their scarf to go, where they want their donation to go, they can do that," says Granata. "I would love to be able to give a scarf to every person diagnosed with cancer facing chemotherapy, so eventually if it could go wider that would be amazing."
To help spread the word about the campaign, Granata tapped longtime friend and collaborator Celia Rowlson Hall -- who has choreographed for the likes Girls, Vogue and Kate Spade -- to put together a series of GIFs illustrating how to wear the silk creations.
For Grenata, though, it's about more than just giving a cancer patient something pretty. "Obviously when sickness happens, people are surrounded by family and friends," she says. "But I think it's really touching when the public comes out and helps to support them."
Find out more about Ashley Jeanne in the video below: