The Harris Tweed industry was in the spotlight last week at Scotland Week 2010 in New York.
Aspiring Highlands and Islands designers Judy Clark and Alison Macleod attended the event using their world class skills and talents to demonstrate the versatility of Harris Tweed, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Orb mark this year.
Alison is a textile designer based in Ness in the Isle of Lewis. Through her company Tiger Textiles, she offers a range of art and design work created using a variety of techniques such as screen printing, painted wall blocks and embroidered textiles. Much of her work is inspired by the history of the Hebrides, surrounding colours and the Gaelic language, her native tongue.
Fort William born Judy is a bespoke fashion designer with strong connections to Shawbost in the Isle of Lewis. She produces unique, handcrafted womenswear garments using Scottish cloths, including Harris Tweed. She works from a fashion studio based in Edinburgh.
Judy and Alison have worked together in the past and as part of Scotland Week 2010, attended the Dressed to Kilt event where they showcased the Gaelic Frock Coat made by Judy using Alison's embroidered Harris Tweed panels. The catwalk show featured two other pieces from their collection, produced in collaboration with Harris Tweed Hebrides.
Alison said that it was an excellent time for Scottish design. She said: “It was fantastic to have been able to attend the event in New York as it is a great opportunity to build up contacts in the industry. Being able to showcase the Frock Coat collection to an international audience is fantastic and I was delighted to be part of it.”
HIE is committed to encouraging conditions in which the creative industries key sector can flourish and the organising has been working with both Alison and Judy. HIE has also been working closely with the ambitious Harris Tweed industry as it continues to promote the unique cloth across international markets, including the USA.
Margaret A Macleod, Head of Business Growth with HIE's Innse Gall area team said: “Across the Highlands and Islands and particularly in the Outer Hebrides, the creative industries play a vital role in the economy. Scotland Week was an excellent platform for manufacturers and designers in our region to showcase their work in front of an international audience. The American fashion industry embraced our culture, heritage and top-quality textiles which took centre stage during Scotland Week.”
The high profile fashion event was also attended by Carloway based manufacturer Harris Tweed Textiles and the Harris Tweed Authority.
Sandra Murray was one of the judges at a fashion competition with students from the Fashion Institute of Technology where she evaluated creativity, innovation, and use of fabric and colour.
Scotland Week ran from April 3 to 10, 2010 as a programme of engagements organised by Scottish Development International (SDI) and supported by HIE, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government.