Honeysuckle Gathering was created by Hannah as a way to explore her aesthetic ideas while prioritizing her ethics. As a self-taught artist and sewist, Hannah has explored many different textile arts over the years from crochet, to knitting, weaving, embroidery, beading, lace-making, natural dyeing, screen printing, fabric painting, and quilting, yet always finds that she is the most inspired by sewing one-of-a-kind clothing with unique, reclaimed materials
Our ethics: good to the planet, good to the people, good to the soul. These values guide every step of our process from curating materials, to upcycling our scraps, to designing shapes that accommodate variations in human bodies, to selecting our packaging, to choosing who we work with. We don’t believe that there is such a thing as perfection, but we have a strong commitment to always learning and evolving our practices to be the best we can be.
The word “sustainable” doesn’t quite capture everything at play for us, so we prefer to use the phrase “fashion justice.” The fashion world is devistatingly fraught with injustice; injustice toward the environment, biodiversity, garment workers--particularly BIPOC and women, and the millions of BIPOC, queer, fat, and disabled folks who rarely see themselves reflected in fashion ideals. Honeysuckle Gathering imagines and seeks to live out a more just equitable vision of what fashion can be.
We believe that the marker of a good garment is how you feel while you’re wearing it. We aspire to bring comfort, elegance, and play together, so you can move with ease throughout your day, feel good in your body, and be seen in your personal expression. Each human body is unique and ever-evolving, so we design clothing to accommodate different shapes and fluctuations. We tend to prefer loose styles, with adjustable features that allow for a customized fit. Also, we hate bras and make sure all our styles can be comfortably worn without them (if that’s your thing).
Quality and longevity are foundational to Honeysuckle Gathering. By making unique pieces from specifically selected materials, our hope is that when you find your piece, you connect with it deeply and invest energy and intention into having it for a long long time. See our care instructions for how to tend lovingly to your clothes.
Our process begins with curating materials. We’re always on the harvest, selecting our fabrics and notions from thrift stores, textile recycling organizations, theatre groups, vintage dealers, garage sales, and our friends’ Grandmothers’ closets. We prefer natural fibres where possible (cotton, linen, silk, wool, etc.,) because they hold up better over time, are nicer on the body, cause less environmental degradation, and actually compost at the end of their life!
Once we’ve got the goods, we wash the fabrics and pre-shrink them when necessary. From there, we sort out which fabrics will be turned into what. The biggest, nicest materials are used all on their own. Smaller pieces might be turned into patchwork. Fabrics with discolouration may go on to be naturally dyed or painted by my good friend and co-creator, Julia Mills of Soft by Juju. After our materials have been cleaned, ironed, and perhaps altered, we let them guide us into their final form.
We seek to honour the voice of each individual material through our work. In fact, we like to say that the reason our clothes are so unique and unpredictable is because the fabrics decide what they want to become, not us. In the past, we’ve tried to make only cookie-cutter, consistent pieces, but it never felt totally right. We still have some styles that continue to feel good, but now we mostly create by embracing the personality of our materials and working with them to help them come to life. This process brings us the most joy, and we also believe it brings the fabrics the most joy. We hope it brings you the most joy too.
Buttons & Packaging
At the beginning, we were using only vintage and recycled buttons. However, good ones were hard to find--especially as we try to avoid plastic--so we soon realized we needed a more reliable button source. After doing some research, we discovered ceramic buttons. Ceramic buttons are made from clay, a naturally occurring material that can be extracted and used with minimal environmental damage. Ceramic buttons are not only beautiful and unique, but--like other ceramics--they can last centuries when cared for correctly. We fell in love, commissioned a local potter to make some for us, and haven’t looked back since.
We use as much recycled packaging as possible and 100% of it is compostable or recyclable. Our business cards are printed on recycled paper. Our tissue paper and mailers are made from recycled paper. The twine we use is compostable. The tape we use is recyclable. Our cards are recyclable. Our dried flowers are of course compostable. Wherever you can, we encourage you to keep and reuse any element of the packaging to help minimize waste. :)
Extended Producer Responsibility
Extended producer responsibility refers to a business structure in which a company is responsible for the items it produces during their entire life cycle, not just the manufacturing. This looks different for different businesses, but for Honeysuckle Gathering, this means we’ll do our best to keep the items we make in use as long as we can. Where appropriate, we offer alterations on our pieces. If you choose to sell a Honeysuckle Gathering item, we’re happy to use our platform to help you do so. If you’ve been wearing your piece for a while and it becomes significantly damaged or otherwise beyond repair, we’ll take it back and repurpose it some way or another. You’re always invited to get in touch about any of these options!
By virtue of using strictly reclaimed fabrics, we’re able to ensure that these materials aren’t going to waste! Additionally, we take low waste very seriously on our end. All fabric scraps get turned into patchwork or projects by us or other artists (scraps are sometimes available for free on the shop page!). Scraps that are too small to use, along with threads and surger trimmings are kept and used to stuff pillows. That doesn’t leave much in the way of waste, and of what there is, we reuse as much as possible (ie. envelopes, paper, plastic bags). If we can’t do that, our waste goes on to be recycled or composted. This means that by the end of the year we might have one bag of real landfill trash. We think that’s pretty good.