Harris tweed - a little history and why we use it !


Goooood morning!

Oh boy what another busy week we have had all over the place! I have managed ( just about) to keep up with my Friday blog although it was another close call this week as to whether I would finish in time as last night it decided to delete itself! There just is never enough time in the day and a week seems to whiz by before I have a mild(major) panic about the blog so this really didn't help!! Anyway enough of my moaning and onto this weeks topic ...

HARRIS TWEED!

 redmeg harris tweed lined handbags genuine heritage material

As many of you already know , since day one all RedMeg item's have been lined with tweed fabric and since Spring of 2016 we switched entirely to genuine Harris tweed. It is simply one of my favourite materials  of all time not only because it is beautiful but it is to me the true meaning of heritage and utilises time honoured skills even when being produced on a large scale. Skills that have been passed from generation to generation for more than 100 years. It is in fact the only material in the world to be governed by it's own parliamentary act, the 'Harris Tweed act of 1993' which is authenticated with the infamous 'Orb' trademark (pretty special hey!) The trademark logo was actually granted in 1909, registered in 1910 and stamping began in 1911. During the 1900's the definition tied to the trademark was altered to include island mill-spun yarn alongside the traditionally handspun which allowed the industry to make huge leaps in production. Although the process has taken steps to keep up with an increasing demand, it still uses original skills and techniques on a wider scale. The parliamentary act passed in 1993 ensures that the heritage and authenticity remains tied to these specific islands so this original cloth retains it's identity and roots which cannot be replicated elsewhere.

harris tweed genuine fabric material hebrides heritage

An old classic ...

 Although tweed is worn and loved worldwide ( and so it should be!) I think there is a common misconception that it can be a little dull or outdated which is simply not the reality of this amazing material. Classic colours and designs are still very much available but over the years tweed has really become the fabric of fashion. The colours are vast and patterns are practically endless. It makes selecting our new season tweed linings a difficult but enjoyable task! I really could end up with meters of unused tweed if I purchased all the ones I fall in love with! It's a craft that deserves to be championed and I am proud to use this material in our products.

harris tweed heritage genuine materials

Why tweed?

Being a relatively young brand and a (relatively!) young designer I often get asked why I chose such an 'old' material as Harris tweed to line RedMeg products. As previously mentioned the wide range of colours and patterns which alter every season allows me a fresh selection every time I source our next lining. Besides this a huge part of designing for RedMeg is inspired by slow fashion and longevity. I had dreamt of someone purchasing a RedMeg and passing it on in many years to their daughter or niece to continue enjoying. So leather was the obvious choice of outer material but linings were a little more difficult to find. I love the heritage behind Tweed and it was the only material with quality that would stand the test of time to make RedMeg goodies just as beautiful inside as they are out for years to come. To this day I love seeing people shopping our products in store and commenting on how lovely they are inside. I also love supporting an industry that really inspires me with my own quest to only produce RedMeg in the UK. I think it is important to support this genuine craft and their highly skilled workforce alongside a lot of other great artisans that we have all over the UK so we don't lose these heritage trades for future generations.

redmeg leather handbags harris tweed genuine heritage

The process...

Being a textile geek the finer details into how each tweed is made really fascinates me but I appreciate that may be a little overkill for you lovely lot! If like me the mere mention of weft and warp gets you all excited then I really recommend watching this really brilliant snapshot video by the wonderful Harris tweed Hebrides which covers the history as well as a more in depth look at the fascinating milling process from the virgin wool to the final fabric. I actually let out an audible 'WOW' the first time I watched it haha! I promise it is worth a watch as the skills and care that goes into tweed is just incredible!

It has been in the planner for a while to make a trip to the mills that make our tweed in the outer Hebrides and writing this blog has spurred me to get the trip in progress so maybe sometime this year I will be able to share a blog from our trip!

Until next week lovely folk,

Meg x


Leave a comment