8 March 2007, Isle of Harris and New York - Harris Tweed Textiles in conjunction with Thistle & Broom today announced that world renowned weaver Donald John Mackay will join the two firms in New York City for Tartan Week to help educate visitors to VisitScotland's Scottish Village about the Act of Parliament defined Harris Tweed.
Mid-town Manhattan is a far cry from the turquoise waters and white sand beaches of Luskentyre (Losgaintir) on the Isle of Harris where Mackay and his wife Maureen make their home and where his business is based but the weaver cites the need for global education and promoting an appreciation of Harris Tweed as the motivating factor behind making the arduous trip from Stornoway to New York via Glasgow and London.
Mackay, who will make his first trans-Atlantic journey at the end of March for the event, spoke about his reasons for accepting the invitation, "It's a long journey that's sure enough, but going to New York is a tremendous opportunity to re-introduce one of Scotland's greatest exports to an appreciative and cosmopolitan audience. Expanding people's understanding of Harris Tweed is a great honour for me."
"In bringing Donald John to New York we hope to expand those who come to appreciate and wear Harris Tweed. We at Harris Tweed Textiles feel strongly about educating the general public about this cultural icon which has survived largely because a certain segment of the population will always find value in something so uniquely beautiful, said Alan Bain one of the principals of Harris Tweed Textiles. "As a second generation weaver, and native of Harris, Donald John's knowledge of the Tweed and its' history is quite exhaustive - visitors to Scottish Village are in for a rare treat in meeting and speaking with him."
"Lifestyle changes over the last 90 years and inexpensively manufactured fabrics from the Far East have adversely impacted this uniquely Scottish treasure. At one time over 5000 men and women made their living in weaving the Tweed, today there are less than 200 weavers of Harris Tweed. Sustaining the Harris Tweed industry has become critical in protecting not only in part of the cultural identity of the Outer Hebrides but also in providing economic value to the Islands," said Teresa Fritschi Thistle & Broom's managing director.
Mr. Mackay will be available to members of the media for briefings about Harris Tweed from 29 March onwards in addition to speaking to the attending public at VisitScotland's Scottish Village until 8 April.About Luskentyre Harris Tweed
http://www.luskentyreharristweed.co.uk Sublime colours and exquisite texture define the work of Donald John Mackay - a second generation weaver of authentic Harris Tweed. Luskentyre Harris Tweed regularly receives commission enquiries from the four corners of the globe in part because of the international name recognition which followed the production of Nike's limited edition trainers made of Mackay's Harris Tweed.About Harris-Tweed Textiles
http://www.harris-tweed.co.uk is the last mill in the Outer Hebrides to supply Harris Tweed to major garment manufacturers, design houses, tailoring establishment and individual customers while still supporting the needs of independent weavers. Woven into each metre is the interconnectedness of local families and the long tradition of weaving the beautiful Harris Tweeds. Whilst the mill has been trading under the name of Harris Tweed Textiles since 2004, many of the employees have worked in the same building for more than twenty-five years. HTT offices are located in New York City and Carloway, Isle of Lewis.About Thistle & Broom, Limited
www.thistleandbroom.com Edinburgh-based Thistle & Broom is a Fair Trade modeled ecommerce initiative with every one of the products offering being sourced exclusively from within Scotland's borders. Eight percent of the related pre-tax profits are donated to carefully selected Scottish not-for-profit organisations which serve to preserve, protect or restore elements of Scotland's heritage. Thistle & Broom was legally incorporated in Scotland in April 2004 and commenced trading in May of 2005.
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