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Feeling The Need, The Need For Harris Tweed

Updated on December 13, 2010

Tweed is so in right now. So in that tweed suppliers can barely keep up with tweed demand. Some fashion pundits are puzzling over the reason for the resurgence in popularity, but if you ask me, Tweed has the Steampunk movement to thank for much of its recent success. That's my personal opinion, but my personal opinions are often strange and misinformed and you take them at your own risk as far as I'm concerned.

That disclaimer over, the hard facts of the matter are that Harris Tweed is selling faster than illicit missile systems at the moment. Produced on the Hebrides, Harris Tweed has been a proud cottage industry for well over a century, and is still handwoven by Scottish master weavers to this very daty, imbuing the cloth not only with quality, but with mystical properties that come with being the product of something very old.

Whilst all types of tweed are popular at the moment, designers who can only handle working with the absolute best are routinely placing orders with the Harris Tweed Authority from around the globe. Indeed, countries as far flung as Japan and as wildly foreign as Germany are ordering as much of the stuff as can be made.

Chief executive of the Harris Tweed authority, Lorna Macaulay puts the success of Harris Tweed down to a return to innocence, I mean, a return to traditional hand made goods. There's a recession on you know, and that means that people expect real quality for their money. They don't want to buy tweed unless some ruddy Scotsman has hauled it up and down a stony beach with a pained expression on his face for at least three hours before it makes it to the factory – and right they are too.

On a personal note, I must confess that this story gives me warm fuzzies. To think that the tides of public opinion and purchasing might be turning away from cheap, nigh disposable garments produced in sweatshops and towards durable items designed to stand the test of time – well, isn't that wonderful. If this trend keeps going we might soon be able to buy a toaster that doesn't die precisely three days after its six month warranty expires.

Harris Tweed stands for stodgy institutions, tradition and most of all, quality. The world needs quality now more than it needs anything else. It needs people going about the place asking people how they do and politely declining jam cakes. It needs penny farthings and telescopes on the train. It needs whimsy.

We're feeling the need. The need, for tweed.


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