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What is tweed?
Origins of tweed
Tweed was born in Scotland and Ireland. It is a carded wool, that is to say that it is just combed to remove impurities but no more. This operation makes it possible to preserve its greases: the greasy primers of the sheep's wool ensuring in particular the thermal and aquatic sealing. The tweed is made in a "twill" weave, an interwoven weave pattern that offers strength and having less wrinkles than conventional fabrics. All these components give it an appearance that is certainly rustic but whose properties are necessary to face the harsh climatic conditions of these regions. Originally, it was the wool of the "blackmouth" sheep, the Scottish Blackface, which was used. Today this wool is only used for carpets, because it is considered too rough and heavy. It was replaced by wool from Cheviot breed sheep.
The word tweed would have two origins. The first, semantic, would come from the fact that "serge" in the Scots language (the local language spoken in Scotland and Ireland with a Germanic sounding) would translate into "tweel". Legend has it that a cleric receiving a letter referring to “tweels” confused it with the River Tweed, part of which serves as the border with England.
Tweed over the years
Tweed took off when the British high society fell in love with this fabric, robust and elegant at the same time, so practical for activities in the countryside. Previously the prerogative of peasants who wove it for their own use, tweed will become an economic issue. In 1840, Lady Dunmore, wife of the Lord of Harris, undertook to boost the local economy by promoting Harris Tweed. Its manufacture is done in the Harris Islands, belonging to the Outer Hebrides Islands. In 1993, an act of Parliament labeled Harris Tweed, precisely defining the conditions for the manufacture of Harris Tweed. In 1848 Prince Albert acquired the Balmoral estate and created Balmoral Tweed, a tweed in granite stone colors to blend in with the biotope.
The industrial revolution is underway, the tweed will bring life to entire regions. It was the son of Prince Albert, the future Edward VII, esthete and initiator of men's fashion - the tuxedo was invented especially for him, because he wanted a lighter alternative to the tailcoat for going to dinner - who brought tweed in the men's wardrobe. In the 1950s, Coco Chanel used this fabric to make one of her iconic pieces: her famous tweed jacket. It was in 1920 that the first version of this jacket was designed. The source of inspiration for Gabriele Coco Chanel is her lover, the Duke of Westminster who wears, like a good gentleman, tweed jackets for his hunts in his domain of Reay Forest, in Sutherland, in the north-west of the Highlands. We always come back to Scotland.
Tweedchasse and tweed
Tweed offers a very varied palette of colors, weights and constructions. The most famous is Harris Tweed, but you have Donegal Tweed produced in Ireland, Saxony Tweed which, as its name suggests, is of Saxony origin, Cheviot Tweed, Shetland Tweed from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, Gamekeeper Tweed, the Sporting Tweed much appreciated by camouflage enthusiasts… All tastes are found there.
At Tweedchasse, tweed is our reason for being. It is the love of this fabric and the values it conveys, craftsmanship, wide open spaces, hunting... that make us always like to offer more items made in this beautiful material. We attach fundamental importance to quality by favoring tweeds with a very high proportion of wool. Because we want items that last over time, in order to build long-term relationships with our customers. Alan Paine, Laksen, Chrysalis, Schneiders Salzburg… Each of the brands we distribute has this unstoppable desire to offer the best tweed there is. You just have to see it for yourself, right?
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