27 July 2011
"If It's Not Harris Tweed It's CRAP!"
We all hope it's not disappearing
Post Macallan tasting
Lots of music and
Winner of the Shel Silverstein look alike contest
Not the film we saw on Harris Tweed but a nice one is here
I'll say this for the Scots -- They throw one helluva party. Two open bars, sliders, a Macallan tasting and ... I'm not sure why we were there? That's right. Tweed. And not just any tweed...Harris Tweed. 'If it's not HARRIS tweed it's CRAP!' pretty much sums up the night.
Over the years I've learned three things about drinking with the Scots. 1- Never try to out drink them. 2- Never bet them money they can't do something in a bar. 3- Never try to understand what they're saying. Best just to smile and nod and let them buy the next round. In short, they're my kinda people.
Harris Tweed Hebrides did insist we sit through a short film on the history and traditions of tweed. And while tweed hasn't exactly been on my mind these last few days of 100 plus degree weather - - I can't help but wonder how a country has managed to maintain a home weaving culture in 2011. It hasn't been easy.
The story goes that in 1840, when famine hit the sparsely populated Outer Hebrides of western Scotland, Lady Dunmore bundled up the locals hand made cloth and took it to the mainland to sell. Today, Harris Tweed must be made of pure Scottish wool, dyed, spun, handwoven and finished in the Outer Hebrides or it cannot be stamped with the mark of the orb, the fabric trademark since 1909.
Demand for Harris Tweed has dropped from the good ol' days of the mid '60s. But efforts to climb back are being made. Not only through hip brands, whose representatives were in full force last night, but also through bold colors like bright pink and lavender as well as a softer hand. Not exactly daddy's plank of black and white tweed from 1965 or my plank of J. Press Harris Tweed from 1995.
Times change. Men seem happy to wear strands of dental floss on their wrist, studs in their nose and nativity scenes tattooed on their leg. But every man needs at least one Harris Tweed jacket. Here are a few to give you an idea of how they can be worn and what men used to look like. Professors (click on image to enlarge) courtesy of 'M' The Civilized Man.
My sartorial mentor, A.O.J. Cockshut, Hertford College, Oxford