Sunday, 27 September 2009

Harris Tweedering and Tweelering

''The Big Cloth'' is in danger. It is balancing perilously on the verge of extinction. Its natural habitat threatened by climate change in mass production and modernist financial target crises. Harris Tweed has become an endangered thread.
I am not an economist, but I do believe we have to apply some Keynesianism here instead of laissez-faire marcoeconomics. In other words: create demand! And create it in spades. What we need is a hype, or better still: a rage.

It won’t suffice to wave and point the magic marketing wand to the slight sweetness and foggy heathery charm of the craggy Harris Hills, the Islay single malt robustly full-bodied ruggedly man with a powerful, peat-smoke halo wafting about him, the leather buttons, the lairds, the rubber boots. It demands far more: imagination, passion, and zeal to marry tradition to rebellion.

I have done my bit by making an appeal to Stephen Fry (http://www.stephenfry.com/2009/09/25/digital-devicement-part-one/comment-page-1/#comment-17777 ), champion of the above par excellence. He can sell anything, even books that he has not read, witness his ‘Don’t Quote Me’ (http://www.stephenfry.com/2009/09/11/dont-quote-me/). Now Stephen Fry is a man whose witty, delightful elegant prose marries wonderfully with his iPhone. He is the man who can turn the Harris Tweed single breasted into the sexy smartjacketery that goes with the sexy smartphonery. He is the man to carry the standard of a new movement. Time present is time past and time future, to quote T.S.

I can just see it. Stephen Fry on Twitter: “Norwich City scrape a point at Gillingham. On that bombshell I'm off downtown for LA Opera's Siegfried, wearing my comfy Autumn Heath Orb Harris Tweed.” Stephen Fry on Twitter: “Dan BROWN??? You are joking, yes? AS IF ANYONE WEARING AN OH SO RARE HANDWOVEN GREEN HERRINGBONE HARRIS TWEED JACKET WITH LUXURIOUS SATIN LINING, 2 FRONT POCKETS, 4 INSIDE POCKETS AND A HANDKERCHIEF POCKET WOULD!!!”. Stephen Fry on Twitter: “... we Uppinghamians are always making spectacles of ourselves in our double vent Rust Check Harris Tweed....”.  He can, as no other, to quote him with some licence, foment almost religious fervour in our passionate avant-gardist breasts. He can launch a tribal status war. Us against them.

Should we do away with the Islay single malt ruggedly man, the leather buttons, the lairds, the rubber boots? No, we should not. Neither with the lovely handcraft of the islanders on Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra. Think of the sheep on those Outer Hebrides, the salty Atlantic tang in their pelt, the virgin wool spun by the ravishing miller’s daughter in her cottage who can keep Rumpelstiltskin reform managers at bay. Delight your senses. Think of these fingers that have woven your jacket.

We have to set the example. I appeal to all avant-gardists among my readers: be wistfully turbulent and seditious and buy Harris Tweed jackets, trousers, skirts. It’s great wear in wintry times and more than worth its money! Wear it with saucy conviction and political savvy. Be outrageous and reinstate the nearly lost 8000 designs. Urbanise demand. For the fashionistas amongst us: watch Sara Berman’s collection of limited Harris Tweed coats, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith. Use your imagination and combine tradition with rebellion. Be smart! Look smart! Laddered thights being de rigeur this season, you know what you have to do …



For those who do not know what is so special about Harris Tweed that it should deserve protection, there is enough to read on http://www.harristweed.com/fabric_hist.htm.

http://www.harristweedhebrides.com/news.php. United we stand!

BBC4 Tweed in 3 Episodes http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mr0n9

1 comment:

leenhuet said...

I positively adore Harris tweed. Still, in Louvain it's sometimes hard to find...