Harris Tweed Tradition Continues

With all the interest in new fashion that is eco-friendly and produced locally by cottage industries, it is worth remembering that some people have been doing this for a very long time. Take Harris tweed: the tweed sport jackets sported by academics and wanna-be’s, usually accompanied by a pipe, and purchased mainly by Americans and Japanese. The cloth has been made in the Outer Hebrides, in the West of Scotland for centuries. Whilst most of Scotland experienced the Industrial Revolution in the 1780’s, the Outer Hebrides did not and they have retained the traditional processes of manufacturing cloth to this very day. The soft, heather colours of the fabric are still hand-woven by the islanders at their own homes. All the pure virgin wool is taken from sheep on the islands, and spun, dyed and finished in local mills. At the peak of its popularity in the 1960’s, they produced 7 thousands metres of cloth a year. But fashion changed, particularly in the U.S. and this dropped to 4.5 thousand by the late 1980’s. Now it is picking up again—Nike produced a series of running shoes using tweed in the side panels. And it has just been bought by an English entrepreneur who wants to boost up its image. Coming soon to your local hip boutique… :: The Guardian

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