Expansion and Imitation

The international reputation for design of the Scottish mainland tweed industry led by the late nineteenth century to many imitators and competitors. These included those based in Yorkshire, Ireland (Donegal tweed), and the islands of Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The Yorkshire woolen manufacturers were among the first to use Scotch-tweed designs as a basis for making cheaper novelty cloths aimed at the mass market. Yorkshire tweeds thus tend to be defined by their place

Harris Tweed Weaving

The weaving of Harris tweed. Weavers of Harris and Lewis Islands, in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, started producing this coarse, homespun tweed in the 1880s. Designer Vivienne Westwood included this tweed in her fashions during the twentieth century.

© Dave Bartruff/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.

The weaving of Harris tweed. Weavers of Harris and Lewis Islands, in the Scottish Outer Hebrides, started producing this coarse, homespun tweed in the 1880s. Designer Vivienne Westwood included this tweed in her fashions during the twentieth century.

© Dave Bartruff/Corbis. Reproduced by permission.

of manufacture, rather than by any distinctive visual characteristics. The Harris-tweed industry was established from the 1880s on the islands of Harris and Lewis, through coordination of the efforts of local hand weavers. This coarse-textured, homespun tweed has survived many difficult periods to be championed in the late twentieth century by the designer Vivienne Westwood, whose logo is closely related to the Harris-Tweed Orb label. Donegal tweed also developed in the late nineteenth century and again principally involved hand-woven cloths. Its characteristic salt-and-pepper effect initially came simply from the use of natural undyed wool, until cooperation with the Harris-tweed dyers generated more complex designs.

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