Thursday, 16 April 2009

Talking up or down

The Harris Tweed industry has suffered serious setbacks in the last few years, in terms of capacity. The Kenneth Mackenzie mill on Stornoway's Sandwick Road has been mothballed, after owner Brian Haggas said he did not need it to make anymore tweed for his line of jackets - which are selling like antonymic hotcakes. Not, in other words.

I am not being negative for the sake of it, but in recent times I have watched with total bewilderment how Harris Tweed has been talked up by everyone from the Scottish Government down, with fashion parades in An Lanntair in Stornoway as well as in the Big Apple, New York. That is all fine and dandy, and I should applaud the promotion effort. But what is the use of promoting a product for which there is not the production capacity? Correct me if my facts are way out, but I though that the KM mill in Stornoway had 80% of capacity. So, if that is out of commission, how on earth is all that demand, being talked up out there, going to be met? Maybe that should be addressed as a matter of priority. But how?


  1. when I was a fresh-faced child of about 8 or 9, with a missing front tooth and scabby knees, it was my belief that if I wanted something, I should just think about it a lot, and hope, hope, and hope that it would happen ... sometimes it did ... it's *magic* you know ...

    I hadn't realised that grownup people did that too ...

    (sarcasm/irony ...? nah ... sardonic, I think ...?!)

  2. Or will Harris Tweed go the way of other 'iconic' fabrics [Akubra hats in Australia, Sawndri jackets in New Zealand], and wear the label "Made in China"?