The Tweed Re-Birth & Revolution: From Country to Catwalk

Posted on 8th Sep 2017 Categories: Fashion

Tweed [noun]

A coarse cloth in a variety of weaves and colours, either hand-spun and woven in Scotland or reproduced, often by machine, elsewhere.

But is this definition still relevant? With sales of tweed products rising by more than 400% in recent years, I tend to think it’s somewhat outdated, if not a little insulting to the beautiful and unique fabric.

First rising in popularity in Edwardian times, tweed was the favoured type of clothing for people who enjoyed outdoor pursuits (a tradition which continues into the present day) such as hunting, golfing and fishing. It eventually became the go-to fabric for country gents, the upper classes and the staff working on country estates. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century, tweed was part of a niche, high end market but was often considered stuffy and old fashioned.

Attitudes to tweed began to change a few years ago when all things hand-crafted and high quality started to rise in popularity again within the hipster scene. Tweed was to get another boost (and an avenue into mainstream fashion) when a footballing super star (and fashion icon, sarong aside) was spotted wearing a tweed Baker Boy cap. David Beckham helped inspire the tweed revolution as shortly after, other celebrities were seen sporting the fabric; rapper Tinie Tempah (regularly voted ‘Best Dressed Man’ by GQ Magazine), actress Anne Hathaway, heartthrob Brad Pitt and fashionista Olivia Palermo to name but a few.

Tweed is now a common sight in designer collections and is regularly paraded down the catwalks of New York, Paris and Milan. That is a sure-fire sign that the days of tweed only being worn in the countryside are a thing of the past. Its popularity is also being driven by events such as the Tweed Run and the television programmes Downtown Abbey and Peaky Blinders. The fabric is also popular in the global market too. Harris Tweed is particularly popular in Japan, a country known for their love of quality, hand-crafted products. The fashionable and traditional items co-exist within the market place and are worn by all demographics, in all kinds of ways including jackets, smocks, shorts, hats and bags. The increase in popularity has led to a search for uses beyond clothing, and tweed is now used in items as diverse as upholstery, hip flasks and iPhone covers.

But why choose tweed? It has understated style and is extremely versatile. Tweed can be dressed up or down and adds a touch of character to any outfit. Traditional designs and colours – greens, brown, blues and purples, evocative of the landscape where tweed finds its origins – remain popular but there’s now a call for brighter colours and wilder designs which means whatever your style, there will be something to suit your tastes. Like many products with a higher price tag, tweed products should be considered an investment. Something that can be worn or used multiple times and due to the tradition, fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, will stand the test of time.

 

Whether it’s in high street department stores, on the catwalk or in the field, I have a feeling that tweed is here to stay. Country style could continue to influence the fashion world as according to reports, Karl Lagerfeld’s next range features corduroy… You heard it here first!

Ashley x