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From Harris To Paris
Posted on: 24th June, 2016
Our island can boast of many beautiful things, from stunning scenery and great swathes of sand to the finest of seafood and a Hearach spirit which shines through in our Gaelic language, music and song. We also weave a very special cloth, one which bears our island’s name, in Gaelic it is called the Clo Mor or, as it is known to the rest of the world, Harris Tweed.
Thanks to a unique act of Parliament this iconic textile can only be woven here in the Outer Hebrides, by local weavers at their own homes. The wool from which it is made must, by law, be dyed and spun here too, ensuring the entire production process remains safe in our community’s hands, generating income and employment, as well the continuation of age-old traditions across the generations. It should be of no surprise then that at the Harris Distillery we strongly identify with so many of Harris Tweed’s legendary qualities and values.
Traits such as the importance of provenance, the exacting attention to production methods, the focus on patience and skill and, ultimately, the pride in bringing a world-class product into being, fit to carry the name of our Hebridean home. As weavers toil at their looms, so to do our distillers, both bringing ancient skills to bear on a 21st century craft. You’ll even find Harris Tweed utilised as part of the very fabric of our distillery, quite literally, subtly integrated into our interior design, providing a sense of warmth, colour and a resilient tactility.
So this week we were delighted to support a new artistic endeavour which seeks to celebrate the local and international spirit of Harris Tweed as we joined the talented folk behind “From Harris To Paris” as their new project was launched at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria. Here, we found ourselves in the good company of The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, the Harris Tweed Authority and the exhibition’s creative members Martin-Scott Powell (photographer), Malcolm Buick (art director) and Mike Benson (writer).
We were delighted to sponsor their event and be part of the inaugural opening, bringing our own island spirit to proceedings and taking the opportunity to tell our story, highlighting the parallels between our work and their’s, between the weavers and the work we are doing day to day. Unsurprisingly, we found a meeting of minds, as Mike Benson told us…
“We love Harris Gin - the brand, the amazing product, the beautiful packaging and the social story that drives the business. As a company, you elevate the spirit of the island and are a perfect partner for the Clo Mor Harris to Paris exhibition”
It is wonderful collaboration between these three expat Scottish creatives, as their show takes a unique voyage tracing the journey of the tweed from the crofts of Harris to the couture houses of Paris. The images and words present explore how the traditional craft of ‘The Big Cloth’ is kept alive and remains consistently desirable to a global fashion industry that changes, literally, with every season. Inspired by the beauty of the landscape here, the spirit of the people and the universal acclaim for both product and process, the exhibition seeks to promote the best of Harris today and tomorrow through the traditional and contemporary, the heritage and future, the warp and the weft.
It’s an ethos we can fully endorse and we’d encourage you to explore things further by enjoying this accompanying video and visiting their website for more. The exhibition itself will be showing at the Waldorf Astoria until the end of August. Please do go along and visit.