Saturday, 7 September 2019


Harris Tweed means a tweed which has been handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the islands of Harris, Lewis.......and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. The Harris Tweed Act, 1993

Travelling back in time to the 18th and 19th centuries, we might easily have wondered what strange clicking monster lurked behind the walls of the local garages, homes, tin huts and sheds of the Outer Hebrides. Finding the courage to investigate further, we would have discovered a tradition which has been carried on for centuries - on hand operated looms, the weaving of wool from sheep native to the Outer Hebridean islands.

Little did those early weavers, who created their wool primarily for domestic use and who bartered any surpluses for rent or goods,  even begin to imagine that their artistic meticulous designs would jet set  them onto the international stage of fashion in Paris and Milan during the 1960’s and remain in great demand even today in Europe and now in Japan and Korea.

So great became the demand for legitimate Harris Tweed at that time that production levels reached an unbelievable 8 million yards a year. Astounding when one realizes that their home weaving practice never evolved into the largely mechanized system of the mainland; all Harris Tweed remained hand woven. As imitation began to rear its ugly head, the need to protect the tweed’s authenticity increased exponentially with its success. Thus in 1993, the British Parliament passed The Harris Tweed Act, officially defining what constitutes Harris Tweed and dictating that only true Harris Tweed may carry the Orb Trademark.

In my mind, Harris Tweed was made into men’s jackets. Little did I understand the sheer number of products created with this famous fabric. Until today that is! I have seen toys, lamps, earphones, and even running shoes, to name just a few. Wow!

So here’s the thing. If you feel the need of tweed, real Harris Tweed to be exact, the products are endless. Just be sure to look for that Orb Trademark. If it’s the real tweedy deal, it will bear the trademark. Remember, Harris Tweed is unique to the Isles and that is official! Happy shopping.

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