Tweed fabric is a woven woolen fabric with a rough, yet soft to touch, open texture. It is available in many different colours and colour combinations, and has become synonymous with the great British countryside. Tweed clothing is not just iconic and stylish however, it is an extremely practical fabric that is both resistant of cold and damp weather.
Originally, Tweed cloth was known as Tweel, which is the Scots translation of Twill, (it is woven in a twill pattern, not plain). An old tale tells of how around 1830, a merchant from London misinterpreted the handwriting in a letter from a Hawick company, Wm. Watson & Sons, Dangerfield Mills, mistaking Tweel to be Tweed. This was partly because there is a river Tweed that runs through the Scottish Borders where Hawick lies, however the fabric is nothing to do with this at all, despite it being advertised and sold as Tweed ever since.
Throughout the 1830s that followed, members of the English Aristocracy wanted to do as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert did, to take part in sports on a country estate. These wealthy Victorians wanted authentic clothing for themselves and their staff to wear, however they could not wear the tartan provided by Clan chiefs, therefore began to design their own ‘Estate Tweeds’.
The origin of Tweed actually goes ways back hundreds of years, to the Isles of the Scottish Outer Hebrides. Islanders needed to make durable fabrics to help them survive the harsh winters. Tweed, also known as Clò Mór in Gaelic (The big cloth), was originally hand woven by crofters using their own wool. It was at the end of the 1700’s that they had began exporting this to the mainland, and it had became prevalent in their own pieces of clothing.
During the 20th Century, Tweed began being used for a plethora of leisure and sporting garments for the upper classes; jackets, plus fours, hats. The 21st Century saw the rise of Tweed as a practical yet incredibly stylish fabric; coats, bags, even shoes. The Barnshop have an extensive range of modern Tweed items for sale that are practical, classical and stylish.