The story of Harris Tweed takes centre stage in Edinburgh tomorrow (Tuesday 21st June), as part of a summer exhibition being held at the Waldorf Astoria. ‘Clò Mòr - Harris to Paris’ shows photos, stories, and videos that offer a fresh take on the textile's journey. Endorsed by the Harris Tweed Authority, the exhibition also opens the Edinburgh International Fashion Festival.
It’s all a result of collaboration between a trio of Scottish creatives. Art Director Malcolm Buick, photographer Martin Scott Powell, and writer Mike Benson all met in New York City as expats. With Mike now based in Oxford, the three friends have been working behind the scenes on the ‘Harris to Paris’ project from both sides of the Atlantic – the work taking place in between the business of their everyday lives.
“We always chatted about how we could make the bridge between ‘hame’ (Scotland) and our adopted home, NYC,” explains Malcolm over email. The answer came in the form of Harris Tweed: Malcolm fell in love with the islands when he honeymooned there with his wife, and Martin had already captured the Tweed on camera over a number of years.
Martin and Mike visited the islands in April to capture the starting point of the Tweed’s journey, while Martin remained in New York to oversee the design aspects before the set up and reunion in Edinburgh. The exhibition will chart the course of Harris Tweed from the crofts of the Hebrides to the catwalks of Paris, illustrating the links between the traditional and contemporary, the heritage and the future, that characterise the Tweed’s international spirit.
“The project started with an idea, and has since gathered some moss, and interest, and now an exhibit with a Royal attendance,” he says. The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, who visited Harris in 2011, will be at the private opening of ‘Harris to Paris’ tomorrow; the show will be open to the public from June 22nd until August 31st.
“We’re doing this because we feel it’s a story worth telling, and one that can be done in a contemporary way,” says Malcolm. “Wherever the Tweed goes, we’d love to follow.”