Harris Tweed Turnaround

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Harris TweedSales in Harris Tweed, one of Britain’s last remaining cottage industries, are soaring. This year, more than 630 thousand metres of tweed have been sold, compared with 450 thousand last year. Harris Tweed has had its brush with the doldrums in recent years but, despite the recession, the Hebridean island industry forecasts a healthy future, with output soaring, thus ensuring that a new generation of weavers can be trained, confident in their future.

Lorna Macaulay, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority, said: “We have three mills producing tweed; they are selling to overseas markets and going to all the right shows. It’s very exciting, especially during the economic downturn. There is a renaissance in handmade quality products, which is exactly the box Harris Tweed ticks. There is still a discerning customer out there who wants quality goods, handmade in Scotland.”

While the tailors of Savile Row continue to use Harris Tweed in the construction of sturdy country wear, high-street menswear outlets with strange names such as Topman, Reiss and Banana Republic are now churning out admittedly less well-constructed off-the-peg suits and jackets, perhaps inspired by the popularity of the Doctor’s latest incarnation, played by Actor Matt Smith, whose fondness for a Harris Tweed sports jacket also shows an upturn in the sartorial standards of British science fiction characters.

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The Chap was founded in 1999 and is the longest-serving British magazine dedicated to the gentlemanly way of life, with its own quirky, satirical take on a style that has recently entered the mainstream.

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