Harris Tweed Hebrides Journal

THE RETURN OF THE GENTLEMAN

A new year but is it more of the same in fashion and style? Or is there a new zeitgeist lurking in our midst. Harris Tweed has been at the forefront of the heritage revival over the past few years but is this sustainable or a fleeting fashion moment?

Oscar Wilde famously said; “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months”. This sentiment still strikes a relevant chord today but the consumer desire for heritage and transparency in the clothes we buy has thankfully had a permanent influence on the way we shop. The ethics of the apparel industry are now under the microscope as never before which is great for Harris Tweed and not so for companies who have exploited globalisation putting cheap labour and cheaper raw materials at the forefront of their business. 

The duel factors of provenance and heritage now permeate style as never before. This paradigmatic change has allowed for the return of the gentleman. Formerly seen as a stuffy thoroughfare for city gents only, Savile Row is now a focal point for men looking for the ultimate in tailored and of-the-peg garments. Holland Esquire, William Hunt and Oswald Boateng (all clients of Harris Tweed Hebrides) may have breathed new life into ‘The Row’ but it’s the traditions and artisanal skills that remain the ultimate attractions. Like a fine piece of art a well cut jacket or suit will tell a story. There are few better stories than that of Harris Tweed so it’s little surprise that we have become inextricably linked to the heritage revival.

Bill Cunningham - the highly revered New York Times photojournalist - states that; “Dress down Friday is over, it’s gone with the wind”. While this may be hyperbole there is a definite return of classic tailoring with Patrick Grant and Nick Wooster receiving an ever-increasing amount of column inches and photo spreads.  Though A-listers like Kanye West, David Beckham and Daniel Craig are lauded as the new new dandy gentleman dressers, it is Wooster and Grant that are the real masters. Wooster indeed intends to bring quality fabrics like Harris Tweed to a wider audience in his collaboration with JC Penney.  2013 will see many other trends but we believe the return of the gentleman will continue beyond the next twelve months and not a bad thing too.

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