Harris Tweed goes trendy with big order for Nike trainers

A WEAVER on a remote Scottish island is celebrating after one of the world’s biggest sportswear firms decided to make tweed trendy and use it in a new brand of trainers.

While most of their goods are manufactured in large factories, the material for Nike’s latest style of footwear was created by one man on his handloom in a shed behind his house.

And as well as keeping designer Donald John MacKay busy, the firm’s use of the Harris tweed has come as a massive boost to an ailing cottage industry.

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Unable to cope with the demand for the product on his own, Mr MacKay has enlisted the help of a nearby mill to meet the massive orders placed by the firm.

Mr MacKay was first contacted by Nike last September and asked to send several pieces of his hand-woven yarn.

Just a few weeks later the firm came back to request more small samples, then in March this year they contacted him with an order - the size of which left both him and his wife Maureen stunned.

"I was in the weaving shed when Maureen came in to say Nike had placed an order for 950 metres to be done by the end of May," explained Mr MacKay.

"I thought that was a large order for us, then she came back in and said she had got it wrong - they actually wanted 9,500 metres."

Mrs MacKay said that after he and his wife had got over the "sheer panic" which initially struck them, they contacted the Kenneth Macleod mill on Lewis, which agreed to help them with the order.

Those in the industry believe the new product will take tweed to the height of fashion.

Mr MacKay said: "It was a fantastic order and we have had more, larger, orders come in since then.

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"It is a good way to introduce younger people to the quality product that is Harris Tweed and show it is a very versatile material."

It is understood the yarn will be used on several styles of women’s training shoe which will go on sale later this year.

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