As visitors to Lewis and Harris will easily learn, there is a lot of local pride in the renaissance of Harris Tweed. This is the one industry which is utterly unique to these islands – a status that is underpinned by an Act of Parliament. To be the genuine article, according to the Harris Tweed Act which was updated and reinforced at Westminster in 1993, the fabled fabric must be made from pure virgin wool, handwoven at the home of the weaver in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The woven tweed is then returned to the mill where it is authenticated by a stamper with the Orb trade mark.
The stamper is employed by the Harris Tweed Authority which exists, under the Act, to protect the trademark and safeguard the integrity of the product. The Harris Tweed Orb is the oldest British trademark in continuous use, dating back for more than a century. This is indeed an industry which has a long and distinguished story to tell.