KNOW YOUR MARKS #1 – HARRIS TWEED
Recognise your brands, marques to be reckoned with, some instantly recognisable, some a little more obscure. First up is the Harris Tweed Orb logo.
The royal Orb and Maltese Cross were designed by the Harris Tweed Association in 1909 as a trademark to authenticate and guarantee the quality of the hand-loomed tweed cloth woven only in the Outer Hebridean islands of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra. All cloth that passed the standards of the authority was stamped with the distinctive logo and finished garments bore the label with the Orb and the words Harris Tweed underneath, which has changed little in its hundred-year history.
Woven and worn for generations well before the introduction of the Orb, the Harris Tweed story shows no signs of slowing down. The ‘Guardians of the Orb’ further ensured the cloth’s unique status in 1993 when the Harris Tweed Association became the Harris Tweed Authority, and the artisan weaving skills and geographical location were defined and protected by an Act of Parliament, safeguarding the name for future generations.
Good enough for Royalty and rock climbers, Harris Tweed has proved highly versatile, it was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated 1924 Everest Expedition, appropriated as Paris couture in the 1930s by Schiaparelli and Chanel, even used by Nike in their sneakers, and has long been a staple ingredient of Vivienne Westwood’s style DNA. Its hard-wearing qualities and long-lasting fashion appeal are still as relevant as ever, with people such as Nigel Cabourn continuing to promote and push the boundaries of its use. Long may the Orb reign.