Harris Tweed is being given maximum exposure in New York this week with a clutch of new collections on show while two of the city’s top stores have given highly-prized window space to promoting their use of the fabric.
Saks 5th Avenue are devoting two windows on one of the world’s busiest shopping streets to their men’s jackets in Harris Tweed while Topman on Broadway give similar treatment to a menswear collection which includes coats, jackets and waistcoats.
Both Saks and Brooks Brothers mounted events last week, in collaboration with Scottish Development International, to celebrate their use of Scottish fabrics, mainly Harris Tweed and cashmere woollens. Donald Martin, chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority travelled to New York for the events as did Harris Tweed Hebrides chairman, Brian Wilson, and creative director Mark Hogarth.
Mark said: “It must be many years since Harris Tweed had this kind of profile in New York. From the grand up-market boutiques on Fifth Avenue to the trendy downtown stores, Harris Tweed has been incorporated into some fantastic apparel. The stores tell us that early sales figures are very encouraging which is good news as we head into the next buying season”.
Meanwhile, the optimistic messages were reinforced by Harris Tweed Hebrides chief executive, Ian Angus MacKenzie, who is heading east later this month to meet customers in Japan, which is now the company’s largest market.
He said: “The Shawbost mill remains exceptionally busy and really one season has run into the next, which has not happened for many years. Sampling orders following Premiere Vision were up again on last year’s. There is also an increased awareness of capacity issues so that more customers are ordering early. This year has been excellent and every indication is that demand in 2012 will be at least as strong”.
Brian Wilson said: “We have put a lot of work into reviving the American market and the results are becoming very visible. These fantastic window displays on Fifth Avenue and Broadway send out very strong messages that the weavers and mill-workers can take great confidence from”.