Bell bottoms, high-waist denims, laced dresses, bright colours, tie-dye shirts, etc. are part of retro fashion, but these trends never really died out instead became part of contemporary style. The fabrics that were considered obsolete have also been combined with other fibres to add contemporary look and ensure better performance. The trends in textile industry are often short-lived, but these trends never die, as many designers are often drawn towards the bygone fashion. Thus, there's no surprise that tweed has also evolved as per modern trends and can be spotted in designer collections in London, Paris and New York. Tweed is no more unadventurous fabric, as with intervention, it has become bolder, brighter and better. It has transformed from ultra-conservative fabric that was once worn only by the geeks to a fabric that adds grace and style to any kind of occasion.
The tweed fabric's popularity has gained momentum especially because among the other wool fabrics, it is the most stylish. As per the Campaign for Wool initiated by Prince of Wales, it is claimed that as many as eight new wool mills have been opened in the United Kingdom in the past decade and today the British wool industry employs up to 6000 workers. The use of tweed fabric has also been expanded. It is not only used in making clothing, but today tweed is part of upholstery, covers for hip flask and iPad. Furthermore, footwear brands also use tweed. The luxury interiors market is increasingly utilising tweed to come up with something inimitable and distinctive. This apart, the tweed makers have retained the traditional touch of the fabric that includes colours like pale greens, soft browns, shades of blue and purple, and there are many other contemporary colours like bright orange, yellow etc. that are also available in several matchless designs.
The traditional tweed develops several colours that are spun into yarn. The wool is dyed prior to spinning and then mixed in innumerable colour combinations, which generally range from two to eight colours. So what looks like a single colour from far is an intricate and abounding work of fibres that reflects the roots from where it has originated.
The traditional tweed is popular, but, in order for the fabric to survive the changing fashion, the makers have found it inevitable to explore the market away from the traditional one. The techniques and feel of the fabric have been thus transformed. Today, tweed fabric that is light in weight and also has traditional look with application of modern techniques is available. This fresh approach towards tweed works on the lighter fabric, modern colours and retaining tweed's heritage.
In particular, last three years have been extraordinarily good for the tweed. The tweed clothing is now part of high-end stores and has been on catwalks in couture collections. The demand of the fabric is on rise and new weavers are being trained to meet production demands. An intensive attempt has been made to rejuvenate tweed and revitalise the industry by marketing the new avatar of tweed that has been endowed with bolder colours and better performance with the help of modern techniques. The designers are also enjoying the freedom to use their creativity in making tweed garments. The result has been phenomenal.
One of the most popular brands of the fabric Harris Tweed proves that the novel method of producing tweed has worked in favour of the fabric. As per the available statistics the brand manufactured one million meters of the fabric in 2012 as against mere 4.5 lakh meters in years preceding 2012. The figures of 2013 are also heartening, as the brand produced 3-5 million meters in this year.
The only discouraging factor is that the tweed fabric has not gone global. Nevertheless there are efforts going on to ensure that tweed becomes part of global textile industry. In countries like China, where tweed is nearly unheard of, it will be difficult for the makers in Europe to explore the market from scratch. It is important to introduce the fabric in the accurate manner. This will take time, but patience is the key here. Aside from China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy are also very significant market for the tweed. Fortunately countries like South Korea and India have shown acceptance to the tweed. But, the expensive and exclusive brands of tweed like the Harris Tweed can never be made available to the masses on a truly global scale. The manufacturing process and quality of Harris Tweed makes it an exclusive fabric, in return increasing its price by manifold. The Harris Tweed is not meant for the average buyers.
Today tweed has become a symbol of modernisation, which has become part of high fashion circuit. The fashion world is also recognising the quality and elegance of tweed fabric, thus evolving its uses for various other purposes apart from clothing. The market for tweed is changing and the little changes that the manufacturers have made to the traditional tweed have been a positive reinforcement in widening the market for tweed.