Harris Tweed is known around the world for its impeccable quality and rich history. It’s the only fabric in the world that is governed by its own Act of Parliament and is often referred to as the champagne of fabric.
Originally, farmers on the Isle of Harris would have weaved their own tweed for personal use. They’d create clothing to combat the harsh winter conditions and any surplus fabric or garments were then used for bartering. Through this exchange, the fabric and its quality became so well regarded that it became a form of currency on the island. The value of the fabric grew so much that It wasn’t unusual for islanders to pay rent with blankets or lengths of cloth, highlighting the early demand for the Harris Tweed.
As the demand for Harris Tweed grew in the first decade of the twentieth century, many people from across the country began to capitalise on the growth of the industry. Unfortunately, this led to poorer quality tweed entering the market as inexperienced weavers weren’t able to match the high-quality production of the locals who had generations of practice. This eventually resulted in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 which aimed at promoting and protecting the authenticity, standard and reputation of Harris Tweed.
Today, genuine Harris Tweed is easy to recognise from the trademark logo of an “Orb” on the label which is either ironed or stitched onto every Harris Tweed product. This logo not only identifies the fabric as a genuine article but also guarantees the quality. This is because before the label is allowed to be attached, each piece of fabric is checked by an inspector from the Harris Tweed Authority. A relentless task but one which is so important for safeguarding the Harris Tweed name.
Harris tweed is still woven by locals, most of whom do this from their homes. Once the new wool has been sheared, dyed and milled, the yarn is sent across the island to the weavers who then create the cloth using traditional techniques and equipment that has been passed down through the generations.
The most popular Harris Tweed items are often wallets and other accessories like wash bags and gloves but thanks to the resurgence of Scottish Highlandwear, popularity is growing for more Harris Tweed kilt outfit accessories. Harris Tweed sporrans are some of the most popular accessories and we can attest to that. Our Harris Tweed Semi Dress and Dress Sporran are two of our most enquired about sporrans.
When you buy a Harris Tweed item you buy more than just a product, you buy into the rich history of the fabric. It’s a special fabric that has stood the test of time and continues to grow in popularity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to enquire about our Harris Tweed products.