Harris Tweed cloth - Clo Mor (Gaelic for ‘The Big Cloth’) – is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament and the only fabric produced in commercial quantities by truly traditional methods.
Harris Tweed has a rare character and beauty. Hundreds of distinctive patterns have been developed over centuries, each one unique, but unmistakably Harris Tweed.
Unusually, the wool is dyed before being spun, allowing a multitude of colours to be blended into the yarn, creating a cloth of great depth and complexity.
© Jack Flynn / Nick David
Just look closely to reveal the true nature of your Harris Tweed. There is an extensive catalogue of designs to delve into: from an array of plain twills, traditional herringbones to more complex plaids as well as fresh, unconventional, contemporary patterns. Harris Tweed Producers continue with clients to explore possibilities for each new season.
Tactile, soft, breathable, warm, colourful, sustainable and adaptable: the old image of coarse, scratchy, dour tweed simply does not exist these days. Harris Tweed retains its heritage of practicality and longevity whilst extolling all the qualities and virtues of a truly luxury fabric.
At the heart of the Harris Tweed industry is the relationship between the weavers and the mills.
The Harris Tweed weaver is an artisan, the master of the loom in the same way a musician is of their instrument. Each loom has its own sound and idiosyncrasies and only the weaver will know how to get the best from it. It can take a long time to ready the loom for weaving a new cloth. Once weaving, they may create as many as four metres of tweed per hour, watching constantly for flaws as they go.
However, the weaver is only part of the story. Without the skill of the millworkers, there would be no yarn to weave. Dozens of specialised jobs take place in the mill sheds. There are professional wool dyers and blenders, yarn spinners and warpers, cloth finishers and stampers and many more roles in between.
From croft to catwalk, the men and women of the islands take great pride in their work, the results of which can be seen in every piece of the Big Cloth that leaves their shores.