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The History of Harris Tweed

Why Harris Tweed?

Harris Tweed, or Clo Mor (The Big Cloth) is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament.

From start to finish the cloth is in the hands of skilled and experienced artisans who oversee every stage of production utilising generations of knowledge to produce a product worthy of the name Harris Tweed.

Furthermore a 1993 Act of Parliament underpins the unique status of Harris Tweed and decrees that genuine Harris Tweed must be made from pure virgin wool which has been dyed and spun on the islands and handwoven at the home of the weaver in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Harris Tweed is about quality and style, history and heritage. It is the fabric of choice for many of the world’s leading designers as well as their most discerning clients. When you buy Harris Tweed you are guaranteed the best, safe in the knowledge that the Orb secures a perfect cloth for years of use.

Ten Reasons to love Harris Tweed

  • Protection: The Harris Tweed Act 1993 enshrines in law that every meter of Harris Tweed will conform to exacting standards and adhere to the legal definition of Harris Tweed. Where you see the Orb Mark, you are guaranteed the cloth is authentically produced in the Outer Hebrides as outlined by the Act.
  • History: For well over a century Harris Tweed has been woven with skill and care by crofters in their own homes just as it is today. From the gentry of early 20th century high living to the catwalks and couturiers of today, Harris Tweed has long been the choice of the discerning.
  • Indigenous: By law all Harris Tweed must be produced in the Outer Hebrides and nowhere else. Each inch of wool is dyed and spun in an island mill and every yard is handwoven in the home of a Harris Tweed weaver. These skills are passed down from generation to generation of the island’s community with pride.
  • Natural: Low-impact production and reliance on natural materials throughout, Harris Tweed is a truly ecologically sound textile. Biodegradable, VOC absorbent, non-allergenic, energy efficient manufacture...Harris Tweed is truly a fabric for the 21st century.
  • Provenance: Made of 100% Pure New Wool, Harris Tweed is dyed, blended, carded, spun, warped, woven, finished, examined and stamped only in the Scottish Outer Hebrides by local crofters and artisans.
  • Practicality: Harris Tweed is warm in winter and cool in summer. It resists water and wear and tear with ease, cleans easily and can be repaired with the simplest of tools.
  • Longevity: You may pay a little more for your Harris Tweed but it pays you back by standing the test of time. The cloth never goes out of style and simply gets better with age.
  • Artisanal: Woven on treadle powered looms, Harris Tweed is crafted by hand without the aid of automation or electricity. Weaver’s skills take months to learn and years to master and every step of the Harris Tweed process is in the hands of skilled islanders, from dyeing to delivery.
  • Beauty: Harris Tweed is literally dyed in the wool, with separate pigments of wool carefully blended to special “recipes” before being spun. Just one single yarn can contain several different colours in order to obtain the perfect tone or hue, each reflecting some aspect of our natural surroundings. Heathers, mosses, lochs, mountains and sky, all entwined to make beautiful Harris Tweed.
  • Style: The world’s best designers, fashion houses and artists have embraced Harris Tweed, showing their appreciation through their wonderful creations with every passing season. And Harris Tweed is not just restricted to catwalks and couture, bespoke interiors from household soft furnishings to five star hotels are also enjoying that rare touch of luxury only Harris Tweed can bring.

What a stunningly beautiful place! Luskentyre, Isle of Harris © Ian Lawson

- Luskentyre, Isle of Harris © Ian Lawson

Source: http://www.harristweed.org