The History of Harris Tweed.


"Hand woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides."

For centuries, islanders of Lewis, Harris, The Uists, Benbecula and Barra have woven cloths by hand, called 'clò-mòr', or 'big cloth', commonly known as Harris Tweed. Originally woven for personal use, the cloth became a form of currency on the islands, and it wasn't unusual for locals to pay for things such as rent with blankets or cloths woven in their own homes.

Up to the nineteenth century, Harris Tweed was produced mainly for home use or to be sold at local markets. In 1843, after the death of the 6th Earl of Dunmore, the landowner of Harris, his widow, Lady Dunmore chose to replace their clan tartan with Harris Tweed. After this, she began to invest more into the production of Harris Tweed and soon it was being sold to merchants across the country. Harris Tweed was even being worn by members of Queen Victoria's inner circle.

Over time, a higher demand for Harris Tweed resulted in an increase of lower quality tweed being made by inexperienced weavers from mainland mill-spun yarn. In 1909, Harris Tweed was trademarked, and in 1993 the Harris Tweed act was passed. Harris Tweed is the world's only commercially produced hand woven tweed. The Harris Tweed Act ensures that only cloth certified with the Harris Tweed Orb symbol is genuine.

Today, an inspector from the Harris Tweed Authority will check every 50 metres of the cloth to ensure it is genuine Harris Tweed. All weavers are self employed, however they can also work as a mill weaver or be commissioned by any of the three Harris Tweed mills; Harris Tweed Scotland Limited, Harris Tweed Hebrides and The Carloway Mill.

Here at Revival Vintage we have an amazing collection of Harris Tweed jackets from across the decades. Tweed jackets have become a timeless classic, and they are definitely a wardrobe essential for any vintage lover. However, some of these jackets, especially those from the second half of the twentieth century, are still wearable with modern clothes and can easily be incorporated into a modern wardrobe, while still creating a sense of individuality.