Harris Tweed links with top Vienna design school as part of Europe/Asia promo push

Harris Tweed Hebrides has linked up with the Institute of the Applied Arts in Vienna in order to get the heritage British fabric in front of future designers as part of a wider promotional effort that will also see it publicising the fabric in France, Italy, Spain and Japan.

Harris Tweed is protected by a distinctive orb mark

The Vienna design school is one of Europe’s top locations for designers to train, with Hussein Chalayan in charge and alumni including Vivienne Westwood’s Andreas Kronthaler.

Students in their final year will be supplied with fabric from the firm’s mill for their graduate collections and there will be a major fashion show in June.

Harris Tweed Hebrides creative director Mark Hogarth said the interest shown by the students in the fabric’s character and history “sums up the need for this kind of initiative.”

Over the next fortnight, there will also be promotional events in Madrid and Paris.

The material regularly appears on global catwalks and Prada included four Harris tweed-based looks in its recent A/W17/18 collection.

Harris Tweed is handwoven by islanders in their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland with only three companies also handling part of the production process in local mills.

The Harris Tweed industry suffered a downturn earlier this century but has since recovered with production by 2012 up to more than half what it had been just three years earlier.

The Harris Tweed name is protected under trademark regulations and earlier this month its regulatory body, the Harris Tweed Authority, said it would be appointing an ‘ambassador’ in Japan to police unauthorised use of its distinctive orb mark and help promote the product in what is one of its most important markets.

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