A wedding, a birthday party, a Monday. As far as Jessica Heward is concerned, any occasion is a good occasion for a man to sport a bow tie.
The North Vancouver resident is the creative force behind Whisky Cove Haberdashery, a line of dapper handmade men’s accessories. One of her specialties is bow ties made from reclaimed men’s plaid button-down shirts.
“They’re cotton as well, so the fabric I think really lends itself to day-to-day wear,” she says.
Heward decided to hone in on haberdashery after noticing a gap in the apparel market.
“I feel that it’s harder for men to find really cool stuff. My husband has a lot of trouble finding really interesting, unique shops. There’s tons of places that women can buy things, but not so much for men,” she says.
In addition to bow ties, Heward also makes toiletry bags and pouches using waxed canvas, a durable and waterproof fabric she discovered a couple of years ago and orders from a supplier in the U.S.
“I just thought it was the most beautiful, masculine, wonderful fabric. It’s great for women too, but I just felt it was a really neat thing for men,” she says.
Her bags and pouches are lined with repurposed men’s shirts, which she sources from North Vancouver thrift shops, and they incorporate other reclaimed fabric elements, such as leather zipper pulls.
Heward launched her Whisky Cove Haberdashery online Etsy shop in January 2015. In addition to her own creations, she also sells a variety of vintage finds that complement her handmade collection, such as metal cigarette tins, photographs and postcards, and wood and bristle shaving brushes.
“I think that really ties in and goes along with the trends that I’m going for,” she says.
A skilled sewer from an early age, Heward picked up the craft from her grandmother. She went on to study fashion design at the University of the Fraser Valley and worked for a time at a North Shore company that designs and manufactures search and rescue safety equipment for helicopters. There, she drafted lots of patterns for gear bags – an experience that gave her a solid foundation when it came time to sew her own pouches and toiletry bags for gents.
“I’ve really just found a love for making men’s accessories – I don’t know why,” she says.
Heward’s Whisky Cove Haberdashery products are available online at etsy.com/ca/shop/WhiskyCove, and, for a limited time only, at The Gift Box at CityScape Community Art Space, 335 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver.