Bespoke country clothing with a breath of fresh air...
You may have heard of the river Tweed in Scotland....
The original name of the cloth was 'tweel', Scots for twill, it being woven in a twilled (diagonal) pattern rather than a plain weave pattern. A traditional story has the name coming about almost by chance.
About 1830, a London merchant received a letter from a Hawick firm about some tweels. The London merchant misinterpreted the handwriting, understanding it to be a trade-name taken from the river Tweed that flows through the Scottish Borders textile area. Subsequently the goods were advertised as 'tweed', and the name has remained ever since.
Traditionally used for upper class country-clothing like shooting jackets, tweed became popular among the Edwardian middle classes who associated it with the leisurely pursuits of the elite. Due to their durability, tweed Norfolk jackets and were a popular choice for hunters, cyclists, golfers and early motorists. Kenneth Graeme's depiction of Toad in a Harris tweed suit in the 'Wind in The Willows, reflects fashions of that era.
Postwar, tweed declined in popularity except among the academic community until the mid-1960s when the houndstooth pattern was revived by the Mods.
In recent years tweed has undergone a second revival among the British indie and later hipster subcultures. Sloan rangers and American 'preppies', unwilling to be seen in second-hand or vintage clothing purchased brand new hats, jackets, bags, and overcoats made of Harris tweed.
Popular patterns include 'Houndstooth', 'Windowpane' check, gamekeeper's 'Estates' tweed worn by academics, Prince of Wales check (originally commissioned by Edward V11), and 'Herringbone'.
Based on the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweed_%28cloth%29
For the Harris Tweed Authority website go here: http://www.harristweed.org/contact-us/index.php A really fantastic website, with all the authorised information, history and great images!