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Tweed – Trouble Looms

July 26, 2011

Vimeo user Psst posted the recent BBC documentary series Tweed. Here is the first episode (visit his Vimeo page for the other 2 episodes):

Tweed – Trouble Looms
Harris Tweed is the most iconic of all tweeds, woven by hand at home, by an islander in the Outer Hebrides, and adored for decades the world over. Or it was. As our tweed saga begins, the world has forgotten Harris Tweed and the island industry is in terminal decline. Savile Row tailor Patrick Grant heads north from Mayfair in search of new supplies of the only cloth that will satisfy his fanatical tweed customers, and discovers that all is not well – and the supply may be about to end.
A Yorkshire textile baron has stepped in to save Harris tweed – or has he? Brian Haggas offers weavers and mill workers constant work, but plans to reduce the traditional eight thousand patterns to just four – and to dominate the world market in Harris tweed jackets.
The majority of the hundred and twenty weavers still producing tweed respond to the challenge and produce thousands of metres of fabric. But then disaster strikes – the jackets aren’t selling and the workforce are laid off.
The islanders take steps to protect their heritage – a beautiful, sustainable and ethnic British cloth, as much part of island culture as the gaelic language – but are they too late?


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