HARRIS TWEED IS BACK ON TOP
Its jump season and Cheltenham is in full swing even if the going is a little heavy. No need to fuss, the wonderful Harris Tweed is just right and enjoying a well-deserved return to popularity. Lightweight and warm the Harris Tweed will keep you looking as cool as you like.
Tweed is still cropping up in the most unlikely places. A few years ago we wrote about the famous time-travelling Lord, Doctor Who, appeared in a Harris Tweed jacket on the show. This sparked a flurry of phone calls to the Harris Tweed authority with viewers begging to know what kind of Harris Tweed it was.Then came the slightly dubious trend of big manly beards paired with anything tweedy. The tweed is lovely. The beards? We’ll let you decide.
The Twenties Birmingham gang epic Peaky Blinders has had a pronounced effect on men’s fashion. Whether it’s the gripping plot lines or the stylish swaggering of heartthrobs tweed jackets and waistcoats have trickled from the screens and into the mainstream fashion. They may be ruthless gangsters but those Peaky Blinders sure know how to dress.
Image BBC 2 Peaky Blinders
Remember – Don’t confuse Harris Tweed with common-or-garden tweed
The reason Harris Tweed is a ‘thing’ is not because of clever marketing. It’s because of the law. Because in 1993, the Harris Tweed Act was passed, meaning that only genuine Harris Tweed could bear the distinctive Orb trademark. This makes Harris Tweed the only tweed to be governed by its own Act of Parliament, and ensures that any tweed garment bearing the Orb is made to the highest standards.
To qualify as ‘genuine Harris Tweed’ the tweed cloth must have been ‘hand woven and dyed by the crofters and cottars in the Outer Hebrides’, as it has been since the 19th Century. And self employed weavers still make the tweed in their homes on the isles of Harris and Lewis, as you can see in this short Youtube video again. And although the method of manufacture sounds impossibly quaint and old fashioned, modern demand for Harris Tweed is burgeoning.
Harris Tweed – Big in Japan
Exports to Japan continue to rise and account for around 40% of all Harris Tweed exports. The Japanese fashion connoisseurs value the fabric for its cachet, classic patterns and the attention to detail and craftsmanship that comes with any genuine Harris Tweed purchase.
And where Japan leads, China swiftly follows. The Harris Tweed Authority reported recently that they are seeing ‘a very significant increase’ in enquiries from China. They’ve even had one of their leaflets translated into Chinese to help satisfy the thirst for knowledge about their iconic fabric.
Does that come in…tweed?
As Harris Tweed enjoys its return, smart marketers have not missed the opportunity to broaden its appeal. And the range of goods that have been ‘tweedified’ keeps expanding. Think smart phone cases, wallets, headphones, cushions and furniture.
Although Harris Tweed comes from humble origins in the remote Outer Hebrides, the passion it inspires in those who value quality extends across the world. And as the tweed revival goes global, it seems that we just can’t get enough of this soft, warm fabric exuding understated chic and timeless style.
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