Genuine Harris Tweed: why it’s worth paying for the Orb
Question: Why would you pay more for genuine Harris Tweed when there are plenty of imitation tweeds out there?
The answer doesn’t lie here at Duffle Coats UK, but at the far north western tip of Europe, on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
It was in this remote corner of the British Isles that the Harris Tweed was hand woven by crofters in their cottages, in the 18th century. Initially used by the crofters to stay warm in the harsh winters, the muted hues and distinctive pattern of the cloth soon gained in popularity.
By the late 19th Century, cheaper, poor quality imitations of Harris Tweed were being made on the mainland, with reports of cloth being made as far south as Yorkshire. Perish the thought!
The islanders of Harris were not prepared to stand for it.
Their superior quality tweed was made from pure virgin wool, dyed and hand spun in their homes with painstaking attention to detail. Cheaper copies could not compete and, worse, were adversely affecting the sales of genuine Harris Tweed.
So the islanders fought to preserve the delicately-hued symbol of their heritage.
The significance of the Orb Trade Mark and the Harris Tweed Act, 1993
In 1909, the famous Orb Trade Mark was granted to the then Harris Tweed Association. The Orb was – and still is – used to denote tweed that has been ‘hand woven and dyed by the crofters and cottars in the Outer Hebrides.”
In 1993, the Harris Tweed Act was passed, meaning that Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world that is governed by its own Act of Parliament!
What does this mean for you?
The Harris Tweed Act means that only genuine Harris Tweed can be stamped or labelled with the Orb Trade Mark. So when you buy a Harris Tweed jacket, you can feel confident that you’re buying:
‘a tweed which has been hand woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides….made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides’
Harris Tweed Act 1993.
It’s tweed that has been made with the utmost care and attention to detail. Why? Because the islanders cherish the reputation of genuine Harris Tweed.
So your hand made tweed jacket isn’t just warm, stylish and suitable for town or country. It’s part of the heritage of the islanders who hand wove the tweed. Which means that only the highest standards are good enough.
So to answer the original question, why would you pay more for genuine Harris Tweed?
Because when you buy a Harris Tweed jacket labelled with the Orb, you’re simply buying the best tweed there is.
Why would you settle for anything less?