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Harris Tweed Hebrides is Textile Brand of the Year

26
Jun '09
Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides has been named as Textile Brand of the Year at the 2009 Scottish Fashion Awards held at Stirling Castle.

The firm, which employs over 40 people at the Shawbost mill and now accounts for more than 90 per cent of Harris Tweed production, was founded just 18 months ago and produced its first tweed in June of last year.

To win the award, Harris Tweed Hebrides fended off competition from long-established companies on the short list including Johnston of Elgin, Hawick Cashmere and Pringle of Scotland.

The award was accepted by the chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides and former UK trade minister, Brian Wilson, and the company's creative director, Mark Hogarth.

Mr Wilson said: "This is fantastic recognition for everything that has been achieved at Shawbost over the past 18 months. We were delighted just to be bracketed alongside great companies like Johnston of Elgin and Hawick Cashmere but to win the award was totally unexpected".

He said that the generic Harris Tweed brand remained "incredibly strong around the world" and that their own company had tried to add value to the brand through collaborations with cutting-edge designers in the fashion, interiors and accessories sectors.

Mr Wilson said: "It has been particularly important over the past year to keep producing a steady flow of good news stories in order to drown out the more negative ones that were coming from other quarters and to tell the world that Harris Tweed is still very much alive and doing interesting things".

He paid tribute to the team at Shawbost "who, in every department, are absolutely the best people in the Harris Tweed industry" and also to the company's principal investor, Ian Taylor, for the faith that he had shown in the product at a time when all they were taking over was a derelict mill.

Mark Hogarth, who has forged collaborations with leading designers and taken Harris Tweed onto catwalks around the world over the past year, said: "The starting point is that Shawbost produces a fabulous product with a great heritage which is recognised by just about everyone who knows anything about the industry. That will continue to be the main business but step by step we will also build a distinctive HTH brand".

The awards were sponsored by Vogue magazine and the judging panel included Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.com, Brian Rennie, design director of Gant, Brigitte Stepputis, head of couture at Vivienne Westwood, Briana Lesesne, fashion and beauty director of Vanity Fair magazine, Hilary Alexander, fashion director of the Daily Telegraph and model Kirsty Hume. The panel was chaired by Tessa Hartman, founder and producer of the Scottish Fashion Awards.

Harris Tweed Hebrides


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