Textile & Costume Collection

Our textile and costume collection features a good range of traditional patterns, and cloth dyed with crotal and other local plants. Home spinning is well represented, with examples of wool winders made with scrub timber and tree roots.

Although Harris Tweed is considered to be the traditional textile industry in the Outer Hebrides, it is not the only one. In the late 18th century, Mrs Mackenzie, wife of the owner of Lewis, encouraged the growing of flax and set up an industry making linen cloth to provide a source of income in rural areas.

Linen is woven from flax fibres, and its production is a long process involving growing, reaping, scutching, hackling, spinning, weaving, bleaching and dyeing.  Therefore, at the time it proved to be unsuccessful. However, since 1996 linen has been successfully produced on the Isle of Scalpay. 

The Outer Hebrides don’t usually grab the headlines alongside Milan, Paris or New York when it comes to fashion.  However, designs and textiles from the Outer Hebrides have featured on the world’s most famous fashion catwalks.

Harris Tweed, or an Clò Mhòr, has featured on the pages of Vogue, been worn by film stars such as Ben Affleck, and inspired Vivienne Westwood, Henry Holland and local designers like Sandra Murray and Netty Sopata. Meanwhile, linen produced on Scalpay, Isle of Harris, has featured in Hollywood films such as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, on the Broadway stage, and also been worn by musicians such as KT Tunstall. 

Harris Tweed has had a long association with royalty since the Duchess of Dunmore, owner of Harris and founder of the Harris Tweed industry, introduced it to Buckingham Palace circles when she worked there in the mid-1800s. Many famous royals, from King Edward VIII and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, have been photographed wearing various Harris Tweed designs.

See this page for further information about our Harris Tweed Collection.

Below are samples from our textile collection. Click on the images below to scroll through our image gallery.

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