The cloth that the world knows as Harris Tweed has been produced by the inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland pretty much since there have been people and sheep living in the same place. The islanders produce the cloth by hand and are known for the excellence of their weaving. In the middle of the 19th Century, Lady Dunmore chose to have her family's clan tartan replicated by Harris weavers in tweed. She was so impressed that she began to promote their skills and products to others. The result led to the beginning of an industry that is still alive and well.
Murray of Atholl clan tartan
To protect the integrity of their product from the onslaught of imitations, The Harris Tweed Association was formed to inspect and certify all tweed being produced on the islands. Only those that passed could receive the coveted certification and stamp featuring the Harris Tweed Orb and Maltese Cross with the words Harris Tweed underneath. The Harris Tweed Authority took over the Association in 1993 by Act of Parliament, and the definition of Harris Tweed became statutory, and forever tied the cloth to the islands.
Now, after more than a century of change and challenge, Harris Tweed remains a cloth that rises above fad and fashion. All Harris Tweed is still hand woven on a treadle loom at each weaver's home, and as age-old skills are passed on from one generation to the next, the beloved cloth continues to meet the needs of customers around the world who seek a luxury fabric, longevity and value, style and timeless quality.