The history of tweed can be traced back for centuries. Its story begins on the Isles of the Scottish Outer Hebrides, where tweed fabric was made by islanders to shield them from the brutally cold winters. Traditionally, tweed was hand-woven by crofters who would use their own wool to create the fabric. This fabric was referred to in Gaelic as ‘Clò Mór’, meaning ‘The Big Cloth’.
Funnily enough, the name ‘tweed’ was actually a result of a simple admin error on an invoice to a London merchant (see, we all do it!) The cloth’s original name was ‘tweel’, which stems from the Scottish term ‘twill’ and relates to the cloth’s twilled pattern. The merchant misunderstood the invoice and thought that ‘tweed’ was the trade name taken from the River Tweed – a river that flows through the Scottish borders… and that was that, the cloth would be forever known as ‘tweed’!
Towards the end of the 18th century, tweed had ensured its place as a staple industry for the islanders, and they began to export the fabric to mainland Scotland. At some point in the 1830s, the development of tweed as we know it today took off.
Members of the aristocracy wanted to embrace the example set by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and sought to own or rent a sporting estate for hunting and stalking. This led to wealthy Victorian’s following Highland traditions and by extension, needing to provide clothing for their estate staff. This wasn’t an easy job as Scottish clan chiefs had tartan that the aristocrats were not allowed to wear, which meant they had to design their own. So, the Estate Tweeds were born.
And now here we are in the 20th century. These days, tweeds have numerous variations which make them lighter in weight and a variety of different designs. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, tweed enjoyed a makeover from designers such as Coco Chanel with her Linton Tweed suits. Harris Tweed production ran to a staggering seven million metres of cloth in the 1960s!
Although popularity waned during certain decades, the Harris Tweed Industry Forum said that 2012 had been the best year for production in 15 years. Now, in 2017, we are experiencing another tweed renaissance – and we love it!
Here at Astares, we have a stunning new tweed range that we know will be a serious hit with our customers. We’re so excited to share it…
We’ve seen a growing trend in tweed being featured at weddings recently and with good reason. A tweed suit provides a unique, classic and incredibly stylish look for gents – especially when paired with some well-chosen accessories.
However! Here are just a few words of caution to anyone wanting to rock a 3-piece tweed suit at a wedding this summer:
Reconsider! Whilst they are perfect for any other time of year, summer is not the season to be embracing this fabric. You will be sweltering and unable to relax or enjoy yourself!
If you’d like some advice and support on choosing your perfect suit, why not contact Jez or Ruth at Astares and arrange a free consultation?