Florence success for Harris Tweed

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Harris Tweed was well to the fore at the world’s biggest menswear event, Pitti Uomo, held annually in Florence and attracting fashionistas from around the world.

For the first time, the Harris Tweed Authority had a stand at the show, which attracted widespread interest, while Shawbost-based Harris Tweed Hebrides maintained their usual presence.

The show creates not only an opportunity to meet clients old and new, but also to see how a wide range of market leaders are using the fabric for the season ahead. And, as usual, there was no shortage of diversity on display.

Harris Tweed Hebrides creative director, Mark Hogarth, said: “This was a really exciting show which bodes well for the year ahead. We were delighted to see great collections from new clients like Mackintosh and Palto, an Italian company that visited Shawbost last year.”

Cumbernauld-based Mackintosh is now Japanese owned and have produced an outstanding Harris Tweed collection of outerwear using six bold patterns in a line of quilted jackets.

Harris Tweed Hebrides fabric featured prominently last year in collections by Chanel, Zegna and Lardini.

The indications from Florence are that it will once again be taking its place on the catwalks of London, Paris and Milan in the weeks ahead.

Another new collaboration is with the London based streetwear brand Art Comes First.

The self-styled ‘punk tailors’ have long been fans of Harris Tweed from their days on Savile Row.

They premiered a collection of thin-cut suits and biker jackets in leather and Clo Mor.

The limited edition collection will be sold exclusively in the Dover Street Market boutiques of London, Tokyo and New York.

The Harris Tweed Authority, led by chairman Norman L. MacDonald and chief executive Lorna MacAulay, was in Florence to promote the generic interest of the industry and occupied a prominent location within the main pavilion of Pitti Uomo as well as hosting a well-attended reception.

Harris Tweed Hebrides chairman, Brian Wilson, said: “The HTA presence gave a very strong focal point for the brand and got a lot of interest.

“It is worth being at Pitti Uomo not only to see what has been done with our fabric but also to understand the potential for doing a great deal more.”

Looking to the year ahead, the company’s chief executive, Ian Angus Mackenzie, said: “The market is holding up extremely well and we will be working flat out at Shawbost for the foreseeable future.”

Pictured is the strong outwear collection from Mackintosh, now a top of the range brand in the Far East.