Heather Case’s Old East Hill home is a gem. It’s one of those rare places that seems to suit its inhabitant perfectly: ample natural light for photo shoots, tons of hidden closet space for storage, and lots of character that makes a great backdrop for Heather’s collected treasures (and her plants!)
If you don’t know Heather, the best place to start is her website, heathercase.ca, where her handmade-to-order clothing line lives. I’m wracking my brain, trying to remember when and where I first met Heather, a seamstress and designer with a background in both fashion and journalism, because it it feels like we have always known each other. I find when I meet a fellow thrifter, there’s often a natural affinity that makes for fast friendship.
Here’s what Heather and I talked about on a Thursday afternoon in August.
L: Tell us a bit about what you do, and the projects that currently have your attention.
H: A few years ago, I had my own shop in Picton – right near City Revival – for eight years. My goal from the beginning was to design my own line – I thought, “I want to be in Picton, I want to be in the County,” and with that downtown storefront, I ended up doing alterations and custom design and what-not for everyone else. After eight years, I realized I wasn’t doing what I’d intended, so I closed the shop and started concentrating on my own design and my online business.
L: What’s the story behind your home and how long have you lived there?
H: I had a tiny apartment back when I had my shop, and I knew that if I was going to start working from home, I needed more space. I used to rent an apartment from Sherry, the landlady here, years ago on the other side of town. I feel very lucky to have found this – I’ve got more than enough space here.
L: The first time I came here, I thought it was a prime example of how a space can be totally secondhand but come together perfectly.
H: Yeah – the only thing new in this space are the mattresses! Everything else has been given to me, or thrifted, or I found it on Facebook Marketplace or Instagram.
L: It’s totally what I aspire to. I don’t feel connected to new things.
H: I’ve always been a thrifter – I think there’s more value in old things that you can keep using.
L: The more use you get out of something, the more value it has to you. It makes me think about the concept of “Cost Per Wear” when it comes to apparel.
H: True – as soon as I learned how to make clothes, I stopped being able to shop at the mall.
L: Your clothing label, Heather Case handmade, is made to order right here in Belleville. What advice would you give to others looking to be more ethical and sustainable when purchasing clothing?
H: We hear a lot about fast fashion brands doing things like burning overstock – these things don’t happen with made-to-order clothing. You get something that you can care about and use for years to come, and there’s no risk of large-scale waste. My line is made from natural fibers, so when it finally wears out, it can be buried in the earth and it will disintegrate.
When someone finds my line, and they order from me, it’s always going to be a purchase they have put a lot of thought into. They are purchasing with intention – they’ve thought about how it fits into their wardrobe, they’re planning to wear it a lot, and they’re willing to wait for it.
You can find Heather at her website and as an occasional vendor at the Side Hustle Market.
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