When Lawrence Hartley quit his job and set off to travel around southeast Asia in September 2015, little did he suspect that the trip would totally change his life. He and his friend Conrad Bergeron traveled to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, finishing up their trip in Indonesia.

“We easily met some of the kindest people who are living in very restrictive and saddening situations in such developing parts of the world,” says Hartley.

Since then Hartley has launched the Indo-Scarf, an infinity scarf with a hidden pocket that’s loosely based on an oversized scarf that they saw Indonesian people wearing. The company hope travelers will find the scarf useful — the pocket means you can keep your wallet and passport close to you and thwart pickpockets — and comfortable. But they also want to give back to projects in developing countries.

scarfs on mannequins

three scarfs on mannequins

“The goal is to walk a fine line between good fashion/product design, supporting adventurers/travel enthusiasts/scarf lovers, and giving back to the developing parts of the world that inspired me,” Hartley explains.

We caught up with Hartley and got all the latest Indo-Scarf scoop.

Dornob: Is the Indo-Scarf good for keeping the sun off your face as well as keeping you warm when needed?

Hartley: We are the versatile “all-purpose” scarf. The fabric is classified as moisture-wicking and UV protecting, which provides endless flexibility. Worn double-wrapped around your neck it provides warmth; from there, pull it up over your head for a cozy hood that blocks out the sun and wind. When unfolded, it can be tied as a skirt or encase your whole upper body, which is perfect for mountaintops, frigid movie theaters, airplanes, class, work….

indo-scarf hood

scarf sash

How did you decide on the fabric, and what’s the blend?

All the fabric and materials are carefully selected for performance after reviewing hundreds of samples. The fabric is 100% polyester, sourced from the US and manufactured in Asheville, NC. We are looking into upcycled thread and recycled zippers for the future.

Have customers reported any unusual uses for their scarves?

We were surprised to hear from customers that Indo-Scarf works well paired with goggles for skiing and snowboarding, is perfect for apple picking, and can be used to pull off the “smart-casual” look at work.

We enjoy living vicariously through the adventures of the Indo-Scarves out in the world and challenge all adventurers, busybodies, scarf enthusiasts, fashionistas, dog-walkers, cyclists and flat out recreationists to test the limits and boundaries of where you can use Indo-Scarf!

hikers wearing indo-scarfs

hiker wearing scarf

Any plans for new features?

We will be rolling out additional color options in 2017 and are always listening to our customers for additional features. Right now we’re researching waterproof pockets, RFID blockers and integration of multitools (please send us your ideas! [email protected]). Headbands are the next product in our pipeline, and more products are being brainstormed.

man in yellow scarf

How do you plan to give back to projects in developing countries?

With getting our first production run only three months ago, we haven’t been able to select quality charities to support, but as we said in our Kickstarter campaign, our end goal is to establish a business model that allows us to contribute to the countries that inspired us while also supplying warmth to the world through sexy scarves. This means eventually partnering up with charities dedicated to the advancement of child development and economic stability.