In the relatively short history of Harris Tweed Hebrides (HTH) there have been several key events that have propelled this company and subsequently re-invigorated this recently troubled industry.
The Dries Van Noten collection and small order from Chanel made the fashion elite take notice. The first Scottish Fashion Award (2009) signified the possibility of a revival. The Topman collection - with a little help from Dr Who - brought the fabric to the hipster generation. The last two years have been typified by steady growth and more innovative uses of The Clo Mor (Big Cloth) from bags and shoes to sofas and hats.
THIS week will be a hard act to follow. Firstly we announced a three-way collaboration with Heriot Watt University and Creative Scotland. This Partnership will secure £125k for investment in innovation and Education. Beyond the very welcome practical help, this development sends a strong message to the Hebridean community - particularly the youths - that The Harris Tweed industry is worth considering as a career.
No sooner had this news been digested than HTH had scooped their third Scottish Fashion Award. The award for Scottish Fashion Ambassador of the year was received By Chairman Brian Wilson and creative director Mark Hogarth on behalf of the entire HTH staff and weavers.
Wool week began on Sunday and the hat trick of winning stories was complete as The Sunday Times used the renaissance of Harris Tweed to support their editorial on The Campaign for Wool’s initiative. The story was supported by a photo of the exquisite Harris Tweed Hebrides/Joyce Paton collaboration. HTH and the wider Harris Tweed industry have also featured in journals and editorials on The Tokyo Tweed Run and Tokyo Fashion Week.
Industry (fashion) recognition and the subsequent press are important – particularly when our collections will start to hit the high street over the next few weeks – but perhaps just as important is our finely-tuned mill machinery, their operators and our even more finely tuned weavers. A round of applause for these unsung heroes; enjoy your October holiday.