Harris Tweed Hebrides at The Florentine Fashion Fair


The grand 16th century Fortezza Da Basso plays host to the bi-annual menswear showcase Pitti Uomo. The show stands as a crucible of style and fashion, a place to see and be seen, a trade show and fashion show merged into a forum that holds a strong influence over a global industry.

Pitti is important for Harris Tweed Hebrides because we are ultimately at the behest of designer demands and consumer tastes. We will always make a perfect cloth but if the jackets or bags stay on the rail then there can be a problem. The show offers insights and hopefully reassurance about how our Harris Tweed fabric is being used by designers and received by the media.

Fortunately this was an excellent show for Harris Tweed Hebrides as menswear is taking a step away from the formal and the fussy. There now seems to be a noticeable move away from an over-calculated sense of style with a more casual, less ostentatious look gaining ground.

There is a phrase in menswear, attributed to Hardy Amies, that 'you should put your clothes on with care then forget all about them' but many of the gents strolling around Florence had clearly forgotten to forget about their sartorial splendour. Blowing your own trumpet was not limited to the talented gentleman of Avec Ses Freres - pictured in their Harris Black Collection below.

Fabrics that are durable and versatile are more in demand, tailoring is merging with sportswear and streetwear to forge a new look of comfort and style. This is great news for our company as we have a strong relationship with performance outerwear going back to a hunting heritage all the way through to the more recent Adidas and Schott motorcycle jackets (the latter pictured below).

The Pitti Peacock (that over-styled fashionista seeking attention rather than comfort) may be on his way out but classic tailoring is going nowhere. The well-fitted overcoat is set to become a must have in menswear. A leader in this movement is Italian company Palto who visited our mill in Shawbost last summer. The company ethos is to bring back the era of the Dolce Vita through a commitment to classic artisan tailoring skills that made the overcoat a mark of elegance regardless of circumstance. Luca Pagonelli of Palto states; “Harris Tweed is produced by traditional weaving and it has a strong association with sporting wear making it the ideal fabric for the coats of a new generation”.

The Italian designer Luciano Barbera once said: “Dress up your sportswear and dress down your formal wear”. These prescient words sum up Pitti Uomo 2016. The Harris Tweed Authority’s display stand acted as an excellent focal point to showcase the luxury of our process. The move towards a more subtle sense of style bodes well for the year ahead.

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