British ambassador to Iceland, Stuart Gill (Second left)
While the Hebridean heatwave continues, Harris Tweed went centre stage in Iceland when it featured in a showcase of iconic British brands.
Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides was invited by the UK Ambassador in Rekyjavik to create a display of the fabric as a centerpiece of the Embassy’s Queen’s Birthday Party, which is a highlight of the social and trade calendar for British Embassies around the world.
More than 1200 guests attended the event the Rekyjavik event, held in the grounds of the ambassador’s residence. The other leading brands featured were LandRover/Jaguar and British Airways.
Harris Tweed Hebrides presented a show using garments from Walker Slater of Edinburgh, Carluke-based designer Elizabeth Martin, who works exclusively with Harris Tweed, and the Harris Tweed Clothing Company. There were also meetings with leading Icelandic retailers.
Creative director Mark Hogarth, who represented the company at the event, said: “Iceland is a small potential market but it punches far above its weight in global fashion and design which have become central to its economic strategy following the banking crash.
“It has also become a huge tourism destination, marketing itself as a crossroads between Europe and North America, as well as a port of call for hundreds of cruise ships each year. Harris Tweed sits very well alongside the high quality knitwear in which Iceland itself specialises”.
Harris Tweed Hebrides sells to more than 60 countries and gives work to more than 200 people in the Western Isles, including around 140 self-employed home weavers. The company is featured in the UK Government’s GREAT campaign which promotes iconic British products around the world.
Harris Tweed Hebrides (HTH) made their debut at London Craft Week on Friday (May 6th) with a bespoke presentation on the heritage of the industry at Savile Row tailor, Huntsman.
There was a time when every company on Savile Row carried a selection of Harris Tweed supplied by one of the fabric merchants who operated just a stones’ throw away from the iconic street. Use of Harris Tweed in tailoring dwindled towards the end of the 20th century – a reflection of the industry as a whole – but things have changed in recent times.
We now supply direct to some of ‘The Row’s’ premier brands. Situated at 11 Savile Row is Huntsman. A one-off Harris Tweed Norfolk jacket and plus twos cut specially for Wool Week by creative director Campbell Carey take centre stage at this wonderfully curated boutique. Carey said: “Harris Tweed is a strong, robust fabric but it cuts and moves really well and the colours are something special”.
The expert tailoring doesn’t stop at traditional suiting. Linn Hi Fi have installed a pair of their limited edition Harris Tweed Series 5 speakers. Patented space-optimisation technology – perfected at their Glasgow factory - ensures a bespoke sound for staff and customers alike. It is technology fit for a Kingsman and proof that everything not only looks better in Harris Tweed but sounds better through it.
Across the road from Huntsman – literally – is the new lady on ‘The Row’, Kathryn Sergant. Born in the textiles heartland of Yorkshire, Kathryn has been a trailblazer. Head-cutter at Gieves and Hawkes until 2009, she recently cut through the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to open a store on Savile Row. Kathryn’s final year collection at Epsom design school featured bright Harris Tweed patterns and she recently worked with Ken Kennedy, Head of Pattern Design at HTH, on creating the Sergant House Harris Tweed. We look forward to a continued relationship with this talented and wonderfully down to earth designer. Kathryn pictured below with HTH Chairman Brian Wilson.
As a company we have a strong belief that craft is the DNA of luxury. London Craft Week and Savile Row have given HTH the opportunity to showcase the best of our process to a well informed audience. Arts and crafts used to be looked upon as a fringe element in textiles and the wider luxury industry but they now run through it. We thank London Craft Week for all their hard work and look forward to participating again next year.
It’s all hands to the loom at the Harris Tweed Hebrides mill in Shawbost where staff are working hard to fulfil the many requests for samples taken at this year’s Première Vision trade show in Paris.
Representatives from Harris Tweed Hebrides have attended Première Vision — the biggest global trade show for the fashion and textiles industry — every year since the mill reopened for business more than eight years ago.