TWEEDS AND TARTANS
When travelling around the world it is always fascinating to learn about the local textiles, as they always encapsulate so much from the cultures they are from. When talking about tweeds and tartans, it’s impossible not to draw a direct line to their Scottish heritage and to the rough and wild landscapes that inspire these textiles. In this article we’ll explain what exactly makes these clothes so special and inspiring.
WHAT IS A TARTAN?
Tartan is a patterned cloth, most commonly woven in wool, which consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans are found in traditional Scottish kilts but they’ve also become popular in fashion and interior design. Often a tartan is associated with a particular Scottish clan and represents that family’s history.
WHAT IS HARRIS TWEED?
Harris Tweed is a cloth that by law needs to a) be handwoven without electricity, b) be made in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland by it’s inhabitants and, c) be made with pure wool that has been dyed and spun in the islands. Think of it as “the Champagne of fabrics”.
CAN A TWEED BE A TARTAN?
Yes. Tweeds have many different designs and patterns from a herringbone or houndstooth to a tartan. What makes a tartan be also a Harris Tweed is it’s compliance with the three rules mentioned above: a) it’s handmade, b) in the Outer Hebrides, with c) pure wool that is dyed and spun in the islands.
CAN A TARTAN BE MADE BY MACHINE?
Yes. A tartan design can be made by machine. In fact, being made by machine is not a bag or a good thing. It just affects the finishing of the cloth that one is aiming at. Some of our shoes and boots used machine made tartans, because the cloth is then made in a finer way, which we like better for formal looking designs. The tartans featured in our chelsea boots and oxfords are woven with natural wool in the Scottish borders.