Once the jacket of choice for staid History teachers Harris Tweed is now spinning away with a 30% increase in metres sold for this year- thanks in part to the sartorial choices of the Time Lord.
The Scots woven material hasÂ stumbled from crisis to crisis during the previous years but now this cottage industry is forecasting a healthy future with output soaring.
Lorna Macauley, chief executive of the Harris Tweed Authority (HTA), commented that theÂ Time Lord’s fashion senseÂ helps the industry:
“It has helped raise the profile, especially among young people.
It’s been a difficult market over last few years but its beginning to come through. There has been a significant increase this year. Our phones are red hot. We have three mills producing tweed, they are selling to overseas markets and they are going to all the right shows. It’s very exciting, especially during the economic downturn.”
The industry’s biggest change however has been to branch out into accessories, such as soft furnishings, which keeps weavers busy during the lean periods throughout the year.
And more students are signing up for training with the Harris Tweed Industry Forum, a partnership involving Western Isles Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the HTA, mills and Skills Development Scotland, co-ordinating financial support and skills and training programs- with ten students completing a 12-week SVQ qualification in weaving this year, the first of its kind for the industry.
Ian Angus Mackenzie, MD of Harris Tweed Hebrides, commented:
“We are extremely busy into next year, so are confident about the future.”
(via The Scotsman)