To Tweed or Not to Tweed

Harris Tweed. Just the name itself evokes quality. But what exactly is Harris Tweed? 

This traditional Scottish cloth has been woven for hundreds of years, but the official definition is contained in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 and is as follows: “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.”

So to be able to carry the prestigious Mark of the Orb logo, the fabric has to be entirely sourced and made by hand on a couple of islands off the northwestern coast of Scotland. At last count there were only around 250 individuals making the cloth … by hand … in their own cottages … with their own looms … in the entire world. Talk about provenance! If it’s not made there, you may be looking at tweed from the borders region of Scotland or England, which is a fine fabric, but not the same. Or even worse, some fake imitation knock off made in Asia or elsewhere.

Long gone are the stereotypes of a “tweedy” college professor with his unkempt appearance and a pipe falling out of his old wool coat. Harris Tweed has made a rather large resurgence in the past few years with major designers on the world stage using it in their creations. At Caledonia’s Best we carry a range of genuine Harris Tweed products such as handbags, gifts and accessories. We add new products as we find them—so if you are looking for something in particular, let us know. But do beware when purchasing Harris Tweed products elsewhere, as some of them may use the Harris Tweed fabric, but are actually made in China or India. Rest assured, as is the case of all of our products, all of our Harris Tweed items are hand made in Scotland.