Harris Tweed - The Champagne of Fabrics

A fabric of rich vintage, centuries mature. To this very day, exclusively handwoven by islanders in the heart of the Scottish Outer Hebrides. The champagne of fabrics is a product of age-old practices passed down through generations.

Tweed has become an icon of traditional British country clothing. The closely woven natural fabric is unmistakable to the touch, uniquely rough yet still soft.

Throughout the years, it became closely associated with leisurely pursuits of elites and cherishingly passed down through family heirlooms.

Its traditional roots stem from pure survival in the frigid climate of Northern Scotland. The delicately crafted fabric provided much-needed protection from the elements. After merchants brought it to London in 1831, Tweed’s extraordinary popularity was evitable.

Over the next century, the original soul of Tweed became diluted and all but lost. Fortunately, Harris Tweed continued to pay homage to traditional roots and exceptional craftsmanship.

It's Simply Cut From A Different Cloth

When we speak of Harris Tweed, we are talking about pure pedigree. Time-honoured processes performed by Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra islanders in the Outer Hebrides.

The finest virgin wool carefully dyed and spun in the homes of local crofters and artisans. They use skills cultivated for generations, operating from purpose built weaving sheds attached to their family homes.

Every inch of the magnificent fabric is produced using looming mechanisms, propelled only by hand and foot. Either by traditional style Hattersley or Bonas Griffiths looms.

An astonishing variety of patterns and colours can be produced. It’s believed there are over 4000 combinations commonly used, including these classics:

  • Plain
  • Herringbone
  • Barleycorn
  • Houndstooth
  • Tartan
  • Plaid

The Only Fabric Worldwide To Governed By Act of Parliament

Genuine Harris Tweed has been ferociously protected for the last decade thanks to The Harris Tweet Authority. This legal governing body is devoted to defending the historic production processes. The prestigious Authority Orb Mark is not to be taken lightly.

The Orb Trademark registered in 1910 was the first form standardization used to uphold the traditional practice. Next, the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 defined precise conditions in which the cloth must be made.

What Makes Harris Tweed the Champagne of Fabrics?

Remarkable Provenance. Harris Tweet must be 100% virgin wool put through specific hand-made processes in the Scottish Outer Hebrides- dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, warping, weaving and finishing to perfection. It’s the pride of local Scottish crofters and artisans.

Practicality and Performance. The fabric is remarkably versatile, somehow managing to thrive in almost any climate. It’s cool in the summertime, but warm in the chilly winters. It holds its own against the elements, rain, wind and even general abrasions. It’s simple to keep clean and if it ever does give way, it can be easily repaired.

Timeless Style and Longevity. When you buy an item of Harris Tweed, it’s a lifelong investment. It’s immortal classic style soars above any temporary fashions. It’s truly worthy of passing down as an heirloom.

True Pedigree. Harris Tweed is a product of naturally skilled hands, not machinery nor electricity. The skills of which have been carried down through generations and practiced for years until mastery. This fabric will always be a part of the legacy of the Scottish islanders.

Natural Allure. The fine art of producing Harris Tweed requires tremendous creativity. Wool must be dyed using individual colours, spun together to create the intricate patterns of colour. The wonderful tones and hues are reflective of the natural environment- sky, mountain, moss, loch and heather. Combined in a wonderful form.

Undeniably Prestigious. Harris Tweed gains worldwide recognition as a magnificent fabric. Both fashion designers and artists are compelled to use this fabric in their finest work. It’s even become a premium choice for bespoke furnishings.

Harris Tweed has become synonymous with both luxury and performance -something that’s becoming increasing rare to find these days. Not only is wearing a Harris Tweed item exceptionally stylish, it’s quintessentially British.

Images courtesy of: The Harris Tweed Authority, Tailor On Ten and Harris Tweed Isle of Harris