Bright future for Harris Tweed Hebrides

Bright future for Harris Tweed Hebrides

The future looks bright for Harris Tweed Hebrides as the award-winning company embarks on a £1.8m expansion of its Isle of Lewis facility.

The company which contributes massively to the regional economy is expected to create up to 10 new jobs at the mill following the development.

A £300,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) will support the expansion to cater for the increase in demand for its unique cloth.

Rachel Mackenzie, HIE area manager in the Outer Hebrides, said: “Harris Tweed Hebrides has provided a significant number of opportunities for young people to get involved in an industry with long term career prospects.

“We are delighted to invest in the company’s latest venture which will see many more new jobs created as a result of expanding production space and exporting in new international markets where demand for the fabric is rising.

“Communities across Lewis and Harris also benefit from a strong Harris Tweed industry with tourism, creative industries and food and drink sharing the opportunities for growth that emerge from the vibrant sector.”

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This particular project is part of HIE’s wider support for the Harris Tweed industry across the islands, including funding to the Harris Tweed Authority (HTA) for new looms and a training programme to ensure the traditional skills are maintained.

Harris Tweed Hebrides chief executive, Ian Angus Mackenzie, added: “Over the past eight years, we have built a successful and profitable company, committed to continuous investment in its own future.

“HIE's support will enhance the overall level of investment available and will underpin our objective of a sustainable industry providing high quality employment to islanders and an iconic product to the world.”

Harris Tweed Hebrides currently employs 82 people and also provides employment for more than 130 self-employed weavers whose skills are fundamental to the Harris Tweed process.

Founded in 2007, the firm has played a key role in transforming the industry’s prospects and has taken the famous fabric into the front-line of international fashion and design.

The company exports to more than 60 countries and customers include Chanel, YSL, Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood.