The Threads of Tradition: HarrisTweed®

Souvenirs of America

Harris Tweed® cloth has a rich history, storied reputation, and is renowned for its unparalleled quality. Which is why we’re so proud to feature The Maximilian, an overcoat made from this exceptional fabric, in our Autumn ’23 collection, Souvenirs of America. In this post, we take a closer look at a material that sits at the pinnacle of the world of menswear. 

From Weaver to Wearer

The deep chocolate browns and blacks of freshly scuffed earth, the burnt reds of autumn sunsets over the islands, and the rich aquamarine shades of ice-cold seas. Harris Tweed® fabric draws upon many of the colors found in its home of the Isle of Harris in every piece of cloth, and it’s this reason, among others, that distinguishes the fabric from other types of tweed.  

A traditional and hardwearing material made from pure virgin wool, Harris Tweed fabric is crafted exclusively in the islands of the Outer Hebrides, where it has been made for centuries by local people using age-old techniques.  

The process of making Harris Tweed is hugely labor-intensive and requires a very high level of skill and expertise: the wool is spun and dyed, and the fabric is then woven by hand on a treadle loom in the homes of weavers. 

The result of this effort is a water resistant, highly warm material that is durable enough to be passed down through generations. 

Tracing the Roots

The popularity of Harris Tweed® fabric can be traced back to the Victorian period in the United Kingdom, when it was noticed by Lady Catherine Herbert who lived on the North Harris Estate. 

Islanders had woven cloth by hand for centuries, calling it 'clò-mòr' in Gaelic, or 'big cloth'. Lady Catherine noted the high quality of the tweed cloth produced by two sisters at the local village of Strond, so she commissioned them to weave lengths of tweed that were crafted into jackets for gamekeepers on her estate.  

Thanks to the range of colors in the material it acts as perfect camouflage, and it’s often remarked that the tweed changes color the closer you are to it. This made it particularly well suited for the hunting game trails of the late 1800s, which helped establish it as the fabric of choice among the gentry and Queen Victoria’s aristocracy.  

 Fast forward over 100 years to the 1990s, and concern was mounting among islanders that the craft status of Harris Tweed was under threat. Commercial interests meant there was a risk of production being moved elsewhere to reduce costs, so in 1993 the Harris Tweed Authority was established to legally protect the fabric and safeguard the industry.  

To this day, it remains the only material in the world to have its own Act of Parliament. 

A Community’s Cloth

Today, the Harris Tweed Authority act as “Guardians of the Orb”, a reference to the iconic Certification Mark that appears exclusively on authentic Harris Tweed® cloth.  

“Harris Tweed is one of the last remaining gems of Scottish national heritage. It means much more to the people of the Outer Hebrides than just a cloth or another industry. It matters. Harris Tweed runs through our culture, our language, our landscapes and actually through our veins too. It’s an industry of people, place, and provenance,” said Lorna Macaulay, the Chief Executive Officer of the Harris Tweed Authority.  

The popularity of Harris Tweed has remained steady over decades, and it finds pride of place in the collections of the world’s most sought-after luxury clothing and interiors brands – marking a long journey from the homes of the weavers. 

“We’re a long way from the world’s fashion capitals and catwalks. Yet our beautiful handwoven cloth, so inspired by the pure and unspoilt landscape we live in, continues to enjoy its quiet place at the forefront of luxury fashion season after season. We’re here to ensure that there is an industry in one hundred years’ time, in the same way there was for our ancestors one hundred years ago,” Macaulay finished.  

The Maximilian

The community aspect to Harris Tweed®, along with the centuries of tradition and heritage made it the perfect choice for the Souvenirs of America collection, which was inspired by the idea of cultural exchange and authenticity.  

The Maximilian Harris Tweed Overcoat takes a material with a strong community origin and upper-class history and uses it for a modern garment made for city life. Ultimately, it brings a wild material into an urban setting. 

Along with its natural water resistance, warmth, and durability that will last you decades, the overcoat features no padding in the shoulders and pouch pockets, which keep it smart yet flexible. 

Ultimately, the Maximilian is an investment designed to last not just you, but your descendants: truly timeless menswear with unsurpassed quality. 

Featured product

Les Deux MEN Maximilian Harris Tweed Wool Coat Coat 856100-Ebony Brown/Black

Les Deux MEN

Maximilian Harris Tweed Wool Coat - Ebony Brown/Black


Truly timeless menswear. The Maximilian is made with the world-renowned and historic Harris Tweed® fabric, which is famous for its warmth, water-repellence, and a durability that lasts generations. The Maximilian comes with handy flap pockets, a classic collar, and button closure in a unique check pattern. Possibly the highest-quality outerwear we've ever made, this is a strictly limited-edition overcoat that's one of a kind.

- 100% Wool
- Harris Tweed® fabric
- Warm fabric with natural water-repellence & decade-long durability
- Detailed check pattern
- Flap pockets and classic collar
- Strictly limited-edition piece

Color: Ebony Brown/Black
Estimated delivery 03 October - 04 October