One hundred years of Harris Tweed

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A special event is being held at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Friday (March 4) to mark 100 years of production of the classic Harris Tweed.

The island-woven tweed has been the cloth of choice for distinguished British gentlemen from Elgar to the current Doctor Who, and nowadays is also showcased by contemporary designers such as Vivienne Westwood for diverse applications from fashion to footwear and even furnishings.

Among those taking part on Friday will be Patrick Grant, a Savile Row Tailor and Menswear Designer of the Year in 2010, the National Museums of Scotland curator Fiona Anderson and fashion historian Jonathan Faiers.

Patrick Grant will speak about his work with tweed as a tailor on Saville Row. Fiona Anderson will give an introduction to the history of Harris Tweed and she will also talk about how it is made.

The event, at the Hochhauser Auditorium in the V&A’s Sackler Centre, will also include a presentation called Tweed: Reception & Identity by Dr Jonathan Faiers, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies for the School of Fashion and Textiles at Central St Martins.

Dr Faiers will recount how, from Margaret Rutherford’s portrayal of Jane Marple to Lenthéric’s iconic fragrance, as the central motif in the film The Battle of the Sexes (directed by Charles Crichton, 1959) or the fabric of choice for David Bowie on the back cover of Hunky Dory, tweed has displayed a remarkable ability to migrate across genders and surfaces.

Harris Tweed Authority chief executive Lorna Macaulay, who will also speak at the event, said: “It’s an honour for the Harris Tweed Authority to be associated with an establishment like the Victoria and Albert Museum.

“The V&A hosts a prestigious programme of events throughout the year and we are very privileged indeed to have made it onto that programme this year as part of our centenary celebrations. I look forward very much to joining in a panel discussion during the day and hearing directly from the people in the audience their views and ideas for the next 100 years of the Clo Mor.”