The Bhaltos bag takes it name from one of the most picturesque and quaint villages in The Hebridean Isles but it has rather an international dimension.
The bag is loosely based on the Boston style bag that came to prominence through The Ivy League in the fifties. Brazilian designer Juliana Lawson became interested in using Harris Tweed during her time at St Martins College in London:
“Harris Tweed inspired me in many ways:
First of all, working with the tweed is an amazing experience for an accessories designer like me, you can play with an enormous variety of colours and the fabric moves and cuts really well. Secondly, Harris Tweed has a strong regional identity, unique fabrication process and a romantic location; the Outer Hebrides that has given me more inspirations to my designs.”
Juliana’s collection was conceived at a time when Harris Tweed was synonymous with jackets. The collection which also includes The Torastay and The Vatisker was an essential development in Harris Tweed repositioning itself as a fabric suitable for accessories and luggage.
The Bhaltos is finished with durable vegetan leather and features detachable inside pocket and side panels that can be opened transforming it into an overnight bag. Bhaltos bags have been sold in five continents over the past four years. We made it as a limited edition and stock numbers are now in single figures so get in before it is too late.
Your writer has had his for three years and unlike him it is getting better with age. As a manly man-bag, ladies gym bag or stylish travel companion the Bhaltos is versatile, functional and stylish; what more would you expect of a Brazilian creation and Harris Tweed.
New York Diary 2
New York is constantly on the move. The flux of architecture, art, design and culture all in a constricted area makes this the most exciting city in the world. Along with Tokyo, New York is the most influential city in launching street-wear style.
Style born on the streets is hard to define but influential blog Selectism puts it as ‘style created out-with traditional fashion houses’. In the past three seasons Harris Tweed has been fortunate to collaborate with great street-wear brands in both collections and one-offs that are great in themselves but even more importantly introduce Harris Tweed to a young dynamic style conscious audience. Ralph Lauren RRL, Schott NYC (main picture) and Supreme have all used our fabric in imaginative ways often mixing it with their own heritage.
To finish our time in New York we attended the talented David Eustace’s Highland Heart Exhibition. Stunning photography taken over a ten-year period. Whisky cocktails and dj/waiters in Harris Tweed jacket and ‘vests’, the show was a big hit even though it was only up for two days but that is New York; the one constant is that things move and change.
New York Diary 1
No city in the world has sold more Harris Tweed than New York. The Clo Mor was a big hit in the Big Apple for many decades until demand declined through the1980’s.
In 2013 the revival continues, discerning tastes for artisan fabrics, heritage and little help from cold April winds have all worked in our favour. Harris Tweed Hebrides was in New York to launch a partnership with Leo Burnett on TUMBLR called Need for Tweed. A press lunch in the pro-tweed hipster hangout of Brooklyn seemed an apt way to kick-off the digital smorgasbord of heritage and fashion.
We were delighted to play host to Lynn Yaeger and Brett Fahlgren along with an eclectic group of fashionistas and clients but we needed a star turn. It was time to call the agent. Not just any agent but arguably the most celebrated CIA agent in recent history; Tony Mendez. Brought into the public consciousness through Oscar winning film Argo. The ‘master of disguise’ gave an inspirational speech featuring an acknowledgement of one of his secret weapons; "That was our uniform. The jackets were representative of our group. Those of us in the CIA who did overseas work, work in the field. If you were in the field during the Blitz, you wore a trench coat. If you were tracking Ivan (the Soviet Union and its allies), you had Harris Tweed."
Tony and wife Jonna (also ex-CIA) rolled off stories of missions deep behind enemy lines and their appreciation of Harris Tweed and the reasons why it was worn; ‘Our group were more free thinking than the normal suits back at The Agency’. Every Harris Tweed jacket has a story, whether looking discreet in the face of The Ayatollah or just looking good, we would love to see and hear yours.
Harris Tweed Hebrides, Stornoway
With Easter just around the corner pop in to our shop this weekend or visit our website to see our selection of locally woven products. We have gifts for all budgets; choose from our Harris Tweed accessories, ladies jackets, Johnstons of Elgin cashmere cardigans, or even a short length of tweed from our new spring selection.
We are now carrying our latest spring tweed designs in store and online, straight from the mill in Shawbost. These bright herringbones feature all of our customer’s favourite colours and will freshen up your wardrobe or around the house, just in time for spring!
Harris Tweed Hebrides opened our flagship retail store in Stornoway town centre last year. Along with our on-line shop, our aim is to provide a fitting showcase for our world-renowned Harris Tweed and the quality products which are made with the fabric, both locally and further afield.
Come and visit our shop, you’ll find us at 25 North Beach, the perfect central location to drop-in during your next trip to Stornoway. Keep in touch at our shop or on-line, to see our latest products – we are updating our stock on a weekly basis, especially our Harris Tweed cloth selection.