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Harris Tweed production soars thanks to wool demand

Booming times for wool clothing producers have seen demand increase. Picture: Contributed

Booming times for wool clothing producers have seen demand increase. Picture: Contributed

  • by DOMINIC JEFF
 

BOOMING demand for wool clothing around the world has led to a five-fold increase in production of Harris Tweed.

The iconic cloth, which is hand-woven by islanders in the Outer Hebrides using local wool, is particularly popular in Japan, where almost half of it now ends up.

Ian Mackenzie, chief executive of Harris Tweed Hebrides, which accounts for about 90 per cent of production, said: “The Japanese don’t just appreciate the designer logo, but also the intricacies involved in the production of an artisan luxury product. Harris Tweed is a 100 per cent natural fabric and will soon be traceable to the weaver, those are qualities that are increasingly in demand. Our dyeing method on our British wool gives us a richness and depth of colour that can’t be matched.”

The company revealed that production has risen by more than 400 per cent in the last five years. Around 40 per cent is destined for Japan.

The figures come at the start of the Campaign for Wool’s wool week, which will see retailers such as Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and M&S devoting window space to the fabric.

 

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