Harris tweed is special.
The rugged hand feel, the dense texture, the life-long durability, the array of colour and patterns… it is a pure virgin wool natural product that takes years of training to produce and can only be handwoven by the islanders in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The rare character of genuine Harris Tweed is attributable to the fact that it is the only fabric produced in commercial quantities in a different way by truly traditional methods anywhere in the world. Hundreds of distinctive patterns have developed over the centuries, each is unique with its own characteristically subtle designs and complex natural shades.
The raw wool is fibre dyed with fresh water before being blending and spinning, allowing us to introduce a multitude of colours into the yarn. With each thread containing a myriad of different colours inspired by the landscape and seascape of the Outer Hebrides, a cloth of great depth and complexity is produced at the home of the weaver. The great thing about how Harris Tweed is created is that there is almost an unlimited number of patterns, shades and colours to choose from for the finished fabric; all the way through form Plain Twills and traditional Herringbones to more complex Tartans and modern design combinations. A big cloth with a big personality.
Harris Tweed heritage and history
It's not just the look and feel of this cloth that make it special. It's also the history, tradition, and century old farm-to-fabric heritage that has become a way of life for the islanders. It's a commodity so unique that in 1933 an own Act of Parliament was passed to protect its authenticity and quality standards from counterfeiting, making it the only fabric in the world protected by a law of Parliament.
Originally Harris Tweed was woven by farmers for familial use, as it was ideal for protection against the coastal climates of the Islands. The quality became so well regarded that surplus was often used for barter, eventually becoming a form of currency for the islanders. For example, it was not unusual for rents to be paid in blankets or lengths of cloth. As the demand for Harris Tweed expanded in the first decade of the 20th century, there was an influx of weavers into the industry seeking to capitalize on the popularity of this natural product, and soon a poorer quality tweed was being made by inexperienced weavers from the mainland and beyond.
This sparked the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 its purpose being "to promote and maintain the authenticity, standard and reputation of Harris Tweed; for preventing the sale as Harris Tweed of material which does not fall within the definition." Today, every 50 meters of Harris Tweed is checked by an inspector from the Harris Tweed Authority before being stamped, by hand, with the official trademark.
The authenticity and heritage of Harris Tweed has been revered within the fashion industry with the tweed fabric being used by Chanel, Vivienne Westwood and Margeret Howell. A variety of tweed clothing and tweed items has been creating including men's tweed jackets, tweed suit, tweed blazer, cashmere tweed all providing classic looks but more recently more modern tweed designs and tweed accessories.
This fabric has been the envy of the British Isles, growing from its base in the Islands to the Scottish mainland and beyond. Woollen fabrics of distinction which have become a fashion staple for so many creators and designers.
How to wash Harris Tweed
All Harris Tweed is made from 100% Pure New Wool and our linings made from 100% organic fleece cotton. The great thing is the virgin wool used for Harris Tweed naturally repels stains and odours.
However, if you do need to clean any mud or grass stains from the course, the best way is to spot clean / hand wash by hand using lukewarm water with a wool liquid soap or good quality mild detergent and then air drying naturally.
Each item has a care label so following care instructions and the cleaning process will give you the best results. The important thing to avoid is machine washing and dry cleaning.