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the Barlow story.

I am always collecting. Unusual things for my home, stones from the beach, badges, souvenir tote bags, paperbacks to add to the pile and it seems, scarves. A whole drawer full. I can’t ever imagine the day when I admit I have enough of them.

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Edna Barlow.

Ann Hoare (nee Barlow).

As someone who has long dealt with feelings of anxiety, over the years I have paid close attention to things that offer me comfort in difficult moments. I think that distraction is the key. You can get so caught up in your thoughts that it is hard to escape them and having something to break that cycle helps. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just a simple, positive message to remind you to reset.

When I started Barlow, I knew the perfect carrier of my messages had to be a scarf. For me they have an obvious purpose as well as a not so obvious one. When I choose a scarf to wear there is usually a reason for reaching for that one on that particular day. The cashmere Christmas present from my Mum, like wearing a hug from her. A silk scarf in bed when I’m ill, to "cure" a sore throat as taught by my Grandma Edna. One given as a gift from someone that I am missing. One with tassels or a label that I can fiddle with when I am feeling anxious.


Several years ago, I sent a scarf to a friend who was having a tough time. I sent it to her because I knew I wouldn’t be able to see her for some time and I felt like I needed to give her a hug when she really needed it and this was the best way, sending warmth and comfort to wrap around her.​

Through Barlow, I wanted to put together a collection of elements that can be reached for when you need comfort, that holds a meaning that is important and carries a message for when you really need it. I am trying to offer a product based on an idea that I have always found reassuring in my times of need, and fills me with happiness knowing I may have been able to help someone else find that comfort too.


I am not a healthcare professional; Barlow scarves are made up of a collection of ideas that personally offer me comfort in times when I am feeling anxious. I have made them with the hope that I can offer some support to other people in a similar situation.

Mental health is serious, with various important ways to treat it. If you need help and support, please click here to get some professional help and guidance.

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