VIDEO: Harris Tweed given major boost after surprise National Geographic exposure

Harris Tweed has had a surprise boost after a National Geographic Travel video of the ancient cloth went viral.

The video has already had 170,000 views in just two days.

Former Trade Minster Brian Wilson, who is chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, the cloth’s biggest producer, hailed the 3 minute 14 second film as a “terrific boost” for the industry.

“It will particularly help us in North America which was historically our biggest market, but has been overtaken by Japan,” said Mr Wilson.

“It will help us try and recapture more of that American market. It is a great advert for the cloth and the industry.

“It really is a terrific boost for Harris Tweed and showcases the islands and its unique tweed to the world.”

All three working mills on Lewis are featured.

The film also follows many of the islanders who are involved in producing the Clo Mhor – meaning ‘big cloth’ in Gaelic – including Callum George Buchanan, a third generation weaver from Uig on Lewis.

He is even featured on his boat with his flock of sheep.

Only Harris Tweed cloth, hand woven only by the islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their own homes, using pure virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides can be stamped with the famous Orb trademark mark – making it the world’s only commercially produced hand woven tweed.

Harris Tweed is also beloved by woman celebrities such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow and sales are booming. It was also started by a woman – when in 1846 Lady Dumore had the Murray tartan copied.

Harris Tweed Hebrides has enjoyed continuing demand from the luxury end of the market with customers including Chanel, Dolce and Gabbana and Ermenegildo Zegna.