There’s a theory in the fashion world that a period of austerity or recession heralds a return to the comfort and familiarity of tried-and-tested classics. In this way, we seek solace in what we think of as our heritage. Certainly, many of the collections in the shops for this winter feature designs that have their roots in the craft-based industries of the rugged islands in the north Atlantic that gave their names to some of the styles most closely associated with traditional British clothing – Harris, Shetland, Fair Isle. Today these iconic styles are widely copied by mass market producers while the craft industries which developed them struggle to remain viable, the weaving of tweed on the islands of Lewis and Harris being a notable exception. However, they continue to define the way the places and people of the isles are thought of. For the practitioners too, making plays an important social role in how they see themselves.
Read the whole article from 2012 (really, a summary of research), Making the cloth that binds us: spinning, weaving and island identity, here; it’s not that long and is pretty fascinating.