As a newcomer to the industry, Harris Tweed Hebrides purchased the mothballed Shawbost
mill in 2007.
The company now employs around 210 mill workers and home weavers.
The vast majority of the expansion cash came from the mill’s own resources with extremely
little from public funds.
Brian Wilson, chairman of tweed firm, stressed the investment shows the company’s
commitment and confidence in the future of the fabric.
He said the day was also tinged with sadness following the death of tweed giant Derick
Murray who died this week. Mr Murray was the grandson of Kenneth Macleod who built
the Shawbost mill about 100 years ago.
Mr Wilson said: “In a sense though, today also symbolises continuity. The passing
of a baton which will help ensure Harris Tweed will be produced on this site for
many years to come.”
Paul Alger - director of International Affairs at UK Fashion and Textile Association
- said Harris Tweed is a big hit in fashion.
Mr Alger said Harris Tweed is an “exciting development” which proved the doomsayers
wrong by “surviving and flourishing with new products, designs and following” with
many international designers wanting the fabric in their collections.
Calum Iain Macleod explains the weaving process to Princess Anne