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FOCUS: Return of Harris Tweed by Emily Parkes of Emily Parkes Art


Emily Parkes reveals the quiet battle to save Harris Tweed and looks at how this heritage craft and well loved fabric is being given a modern facelift by young designers and making a well deserved come back.


For generations, Harris Tweed has been synonymous with luxury, high fashion and tradition.


The


fabric, known as ‘The Magic Cloth’ was originally hand woven by the communities of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra, small islands that sit between the Scottish Highlands. Lewis and Harris, in particular, were renowned for their weaving and, even through the industrial revolution; they continued to weave the cloth by hand.


The official definition of this heritage 100 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2011


textile contained in the Harris Tweed Act of 1992 states, “Harris Tweed is the cloth that has been handwoven by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their own homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebridies.” The Harris Tweed Orb symbol is synonymous


with the aforementioned definition and only genuine Harris Tweed bears this special mark.


Up to 1846 the cloth was mainly made for use around the home and local domestic market, until Lady Dunmore, widow of the late


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