Tweed industry: decline and rebirth

Harris, a southern part of the Scotch island Lewis is considered to be a homeland of tweed.

Harris tweed is a tweed as it is, whose reputation is maintained over the decades. This world famous fabric is made of sheep fleece, which is reeled in thick rough threads. Tweed fabric is considered to be an item of the national pride of the British (to be more exact, of the Scotch) along with their national dresses – kilts. True tweed has a special mark and certificate of authenticity, it is popular with the representatives of the British Monarchy and celebrities of England. It is one of the most conservative woollen fabrics of high-quality. Strict image of tweed does not prevent modern couturiers from creating new collections with tweed.

Decline of the tweed industry

Unfortunately, history of tweed was not always unclouded. In our century of high technologies traditional craft, whose product is tweed, occasionally becomes at risk of total disappearance.

Beginning with the 1980 tweed fashion began to decline. New brands with their own fashion conceptions appeared... English restraint, conservatism, strictness of the lines were replaced by the new ideas and solutions.

Invention of the synthetic materials and their rapid application to production crippled tweed industry seriously. At last, a point came, when key producers of classical Harris tweed were bought by other companies and businessmen, Brian Haggas in particular, who was a business leader from Yorkshire. He did not believe that tweed production can be lucrative. His favourite colour was grey, that is why he ordered only grey tweed jackets for his factories. Up to now there are warehouses, where hundreds of these jackets are lying unwanted. So, tweed industry was on the huge decline.

Rebirth of the tweed industry

However, a few years later an initiative group of young businessmen, whose ideas differed from ideas of Brian Haggas radically, decided to revive traditional tweed clothes. In the 2007 these businessmen took the initiative in buying (at the beneficial price) of bright fabrics from Haggas, which he did not like because of his predilection for grey colour. As a result, the initiative group opened a new company in the capital of the island Harris, in Tabost. Well-thought-out marketing vehicles made domestic tweed again fashionable and even a little bit bold. Businessmen began to produce unusual colourings for tweed, bright, up to acid pink. Not only jackets, but also caps, scarves and even stylish bags are made-up of this “renovate” tweed, here tweed is combined with excellent Italian leather. All these measures enhanced prestige of tweed products abruptly.


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