Rogue traders selling fake Harris Tweed goods on the internet are being targeted
by the guardians of the cloth.
Crackdown on fake Harris Tweed
18 April 2017
The Harris Tweed Authority has hired a company to monitor online misuse of the Orb
mark and the wider Harris Tweed brand.
Edinburgh-based SnapDragon Monitoring will search e-commerce, social media and auction
sites for counterfeit products.
It will also target internet shops using forged Harris Tweed labels on other products
which have no connection to the genuine cloth.
Jobs of some 350 islanders in the Western Isles - the only place it can legally be
made - depend on Harris Tweed.
But its growing popularity means the unique textile is under threat by counterfeiters.
Harris Tweed has its own Act of Parliament - a hugely important measure in ensuring
the cloth can only be woven and produced in the Western Isles.
Lorna MacAulay, chief executive of the authority, said: “It has taken generations
to build the Harris Tweed brand into the popular global phenomena we see today. It
is our job to guard against unauthorised use of the brand and we take that role very
Internet monitoring will help “protect our reputation in the eyes of businesses who
invest in Harris Tweed and the customers who buy their products.”
Inditex, one of the world’s largest distribution groups, apologised in 2012 when
found to be inadvertently marketing a jacket on its Zara fashion chain website as
a Harris Tweed blazer."
Clothing retailer TK Maxx stumped up an out-of-court settlement in 2013 - believed
to be a five figure sum - after the HTA complained it infringed the Harris Tweed
The SnapDragon team was brought in on the recommendation of Burness Paull which manages
all of the authority’s legal affairs across the world.