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Harris Tweed (Clò Mór or Clò na Hearadh in Gaelic) is a cloth that has been handwoven by the islanders on the

Isles of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, using local wool. Traditional Harris Tweed was characterized by subtle flecks of colour achieved through the use of vegetable dyes, including the lichen dyes called "crottle" which give deep red- or purple-brown and rusty orange respectively). These lichens are the origin of the distinctive scent of older Harris Tweed.

During the economic difficulties of the Highland potato famine of 1846-7, Catherine Murray, Countess of Dunmore was instrumental in the promotion and development of Harris Tweed as a sustainable and local industry. Recognising its sales potential, she had the Murray family tartan copied in tweed by the local weavers and suits were made for the Dunmore estate gamekeepers and gillies. Proving a success, Lady Dunmore sought to widen the market by removing the irregularities caused by dyeing, spinning and weaving (all done by hand) in order to bring it in line with machine-made cloth. She achieved this by organising and financing training in Alloa for the Harris weavers and by the late 1840s a London market was established which led to an increase in sales of tweed.[4]

Traditional fabric used exclusively by the gentry

•Twill •Herringbone •Plain weave •Plaid/ tartan

Pattern draft

• Tartan is made with alternating bands of coloured (pre-dyed) threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colours cross, which give the appearance of new colours blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of colour repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett.

They export to more than 40 countries and supply designers like Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Steven Alan.

Runway fashion

Iconic enthusiastic ambassadors

Contemporary use, Harris tweed has been seen on many catwalk runways, including Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.


"champagne of fabrics."

•Harris Tweed was used in the fitting out of the ocean liner QE2 in the 1960s

Muted, natural colours, plain weave

Every length of cloth is stamped with the official Orb symbol, trademarked by the Harris Tweed Association in 1909, when Harris Tweed was defined as "handspun, hand-woven and dyed by the crofters and cottars in the Outer Hebrides."

In 2004 the American company Nike used the fabric to produce limited edition runs of retro trainers originally released in the 1980s. They ordered 10,000 metres of cloth from mills on the Isle of Harris, using a design by Donald John Mackay, who lives and works in Luskentyre on the island

Traditional black houses were occupied up until the 1970’s. Crofters worked using traditional looms to weave the tweed.

Advertising, historical and modern

From the land comes the cloth. Colours and designs inspired by nature.

Traditional garb.

Dyed wool fibres ready for blending and carding then spinning

Carding and blending the fibres

Spinning, tradition…….

and modern methods

• Http:// • Contemporary use • • Video • Qcg • Ben fogle video docum