The Heritage of Making Textiles for a 21st Industry

The collaboration between Harris Tweed Hebrides and the School of Textiles and Design places the heritage of making textiles as central to the creative future of Scotland for a 21st century industry. In partnership HTH and HWU will explore innovation in design practice and technical advancements in the textile sector.


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Design and Manufacturing workshop April 2014

We welcomed our colleagues from the Harris Tweed Hebrides and the Harris Tweed Authority to our campus In Galashiels last week to participate in a series of workshops reflecting on the design process, considerations for manufacturing and fabric embellishment; the week also included a number of visits to local mills.

The group kicked off the week with a series of workshops addressing the design process, research, sketch to toile and prototyping for apparel; this prompted a lively and interesting Q&A session. Design for interiors and accessories also featured heavily in our sessions with plenty of actions identified for development.

A workshop on manufacturing and all that it entails provided some excellent feedback from both Harris Tweed Hebrides and the Harris Tweed Authority; “it’s a really interesting topic, I would like to learn more.” Ruth Macdonald, Retail Manager.

“QC for label production is relevant to the Authority” Kristina Macleod, HTA.

Visits to Mills and makers were well received with an especially entertaining visit to Yvette Jelfs at Noble Headwear.

 Johnstons of Elgin in Hawick, Lochcarron and Robert Noble also provided another insight into good practice within retail and manufacturing environments.

On our last morning a short session on fabric embellishment focussed on Laser etching and cutting, along with digital print and included some exciting samples to take home.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the team at Harris Tweed Hebrides are already looking forward to the next workshop in June.

Watch this space

 The Making of the Cloth

The Making of the Cloth

Visit to Lewis, October 2013: The Heriot-Watt team, Project Manager Maggie Marr, Creative Director Alison Harley, and Business Development Manager Jim McVee, met with the Harris Tweed Hebrides Directors, Ian Angus Mackenzie, Murdo Macmillan and Margaret A Macleod. The purpose of this visit was to confirm the details of the project briefs and to initiate the new partnership of Harris Tweed Hebrides with Heriot-Watt University, for the Creative Futures collaboration over the coming year to eighteen months.

     Harris Tweed Hebrides & the School of Textiles and Design, Heriot Watt University: Workshops December 2013

 “The first Heriot-Watt / Harris Tweed Hebrides workshop in December provided the ideal opportunity to introduce staff to our joint Innovation Project which will run for the next 18 months.  The week of workshops in December also facilitated and encouraged Harris Tweed Hebrides colleagues to consider new ideas, concepts and innovative manufacturing processes.  The series of workshops led by Heriot-Watt and delivered at our Shawbost manufacturing site, encouraged debate and discussion between the Heriot Watt facilitators, and all the attendees.  The verbal feedback and questionnaire responses provide excellent evidence to demonstrate how well received the sessions were by our colleagues.  Harris Tweed Hebrides continues with our commitment to further explore innovation opportunities with HW’s School of Textiles and Design. We are very much looking forward to the next 18 months and what this project can bring to Harris Tweed Hebrides, particularly the opportunity to develop closer links between Heriot- Watt and our business.  


As an export driven business, steeped in the provenance and heritage of Harris Tweed, we compete in a highly competitive global market place.  Our work over recent years has undoubtedly re-established the international profile and demand for this unique cloth.  It is increasingly important we keep ahead of global trends and influences, while ensuring that Harris Tweed Hebrides marketing and manufacturing processes consider new technology, alongside established techniques.  This combined with capturing the enthusiasm and knowledge of our own workforce and the independent weavers, who support our business, will help to drive the future sustainability and growth of our industry.”


Margaret A Macleod, Brand Development Director, Harris Tweed Hebrides