Harris Tweed Hebrides has teamed up with one of Europe’s leading fashion and design
schools to ensure that a new generation of the industry’s future leaders are ambassadors
for the iconic fabric.
The relationship with the Institute of the Applied Arts in Vienna is part of the
award-winning company’s wider campaign to boost sales in Europe’s leading fashion
markets including Italy, France and Spain.
Over the next two weeks, Harris Tweed Hebrides will also be involved in major promotional
events in Madrid and Paris.
The European initiative was boosted when the Italian super-brand Prada included four
Harris Tweed “looks” in their main Autumn Winter 2017 collection.
The Vienna design school draws elite students from all over Europe and is presided
over by the highly-regarded British-Cypriot designer Hussein Chalayan while alumni
include Andreas Kronthaler, creative director at Vivienne Westwood.
Final year design students will be supplied with fabric from the Shawbost mill to
use in their graduate collections and the partnership will culminate in a grand fashion
show in June. It is hoped that a long-term relationship will then be maintained.
Harris Tweed Hebrides creative director Mark Hogarth said: ‘When we visited Vienna
to explain Harris Tweed to the students, fewer than half of them had previously heard
of it, but they were really enthused to learn of its qualities and provenance. That
sums up the need for this kind of initiative.”
He added: “The students of today will be the creative leaders of tomorrow’s fashion
industry. We are proud to invest in such talent and be associated with such a prestigious
European institution”. A similar partnership with a Scottish design school will
be announced shortly.
Course co-ordinator in Vienna, Claudia Reifberger, said: “We are very appreciative
of the collaboration with Harris Tweed because our students now have the opportunity
to turn high quality, handmade fabrics in outstanding colours and designs into their
personal visions of contemporary fashion”.
Next week in Madrid, Harris Tweed Hebrides will participate in a prestigious showcase
organised by the British Embassy aimed at the Spanish fashion market.
Then in Paris, the company is teaming up with The Whisky Shop in the Place de la
Madeleine to host a reception during the spring edition of Premier Vision, the main
international fashion and textiles event.
Chief executive Ian Angus Mackenzie said: “As far as we are concerned, Brexit means
that we need to put even more effort into European markets, to make clear that we
place a very high value on future relationships. At a time of global uncertainties,
Europe should be more important than ever to us.
“Whatever is happening politically, events like the one in Madrid send out the essential
message that trade with EU countries needs to continue as before. Our own initiative
in Vienna reinforces that approach”.
No Brexit blues as Harris Tweed Hebrides launches European campaign
25 January 2017
Harris Tweed from Shawbost looking good on the Prada catwalk
Students at Vienna's Institute of the Applied Arts find out more about Harris Tweed