Harris Tweed shaped by designers of tomorrow

13 March 2017

Harris Tweed shaped by designers of tomorrow

Caitlin Wight

Fashion Business students from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are helping to modernise the future marketing of Harris Tweed.

The fourth-year students have conceptualised and created a new range of official Harris Tweed products through a 12-week project in partnership with Harris Tweed Hebrides.

Its Creative Director Mark Hogarth challenged the students to design innovative garments and accessories which move the fabric into new markets.

Students had three months to research and design their own range, working from the University’s Fashion Factory to bring their designs to life.

Harris Tweed is handwoven in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland from pure virgin wool and protected by statute, the distinctive Orb stamp highlighting its authenticity.

Harris Tweed Hebrides was formed in 2007 at Shawbost Mill on the Isle of Lewis. It has led the revival of this unique industry, repositioning Harris Tweed as a fabric of fashion, being used by the fashion houses including Alexander McQueen and Chanel.

Mark Hogarth, Harris Tweed Hebrides Creative Director, said: "We have managed to diversify the Harris Tweed industry beyond the traditional gent’s jacket, but we are constantly looking for inspiration.

“Investing in the talented students at GCU is a mutually beneficial partnership where we get to see our fabric in conceptual design and the students get to work with a luxury fabric. We feel there is room for growth in womenswear, childrenswear and streetwear and we will look to promote this partnership to a worldwide audience.”

Harris Tweed Hebrides is the latest company to work with GCU on the Range Design for Industry project, previous partnerships include Mackintosh, Barbour, Eleganza and Greaves.

Linda Shearer, Senior Lecturer in the Glasgow School for Business and Society, said: “This project enables our students to put everything they have learned in their studies into practice. It challenges them to work against a tight timescale just as you would experience in the work place.

“To work together with Harris Tweed Hebrides this year has been brilliant. They are the leading manufacturers of an established Scottish heritage brand now recognised globally. And the fabric is of such high quality to work with and sustainable too.”

Fashion Business students learn a wide range of skills throughout their studies, preparing graduates for careers in diverse areas including product design, buying and merchandising.