Scottish Rugby celebrates tailor-made partnership

Scottish Rugby is partnering with Harris Tweed and today (Thursday 3 November) in the Outer Hebrides unveiled a new official SRU design.

Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay, said: “Scottish Rugby is keen to work with iconic, world-renowned Scottish brands and the opportunity to partner with Harris Tweed, which is recognised globally as a quality product, is one that we are very excited about.

In the global market place in which we operate, it’s important that we can extend the international dimension of Scottish Rugby and generate awareness of our brand.

“Harris Tweed has significant international markets in the likes of Japan and the United States, which are both key territories for us in broadening our wider supporter base.”

The new exclusive design – modelled today on Lewis by Scotland’s cap and points’ record-holder, Chris Paterson, and fellow former Scotland captain Alastair Kellock, both Scottish Rugby ambassadors – was a collaboration between Scottish Rugby, Harris Tweed Hebrides and the retailer Walker Slater.

Ken Kennedy, head designer at Harris Tweed Hebrides in Shawbost, Isle of Lewis, has created bespoke tweed working from a brief to incorporate navy, purple and green, the familiar colours of Scottish Rugby.  The resultant check pattern has won the seal of approval from both Paterson and Kellock.

Kellock said: “Harris Tweed is a fabric for all occasions and I believe it’s a real coup to have a design which includes the colours of our international players’ tie as well as our officially registered Scottish Rugby tartan.

The beauty of this is that it works, whether you’re a traditionalist or after something that’s new and eye-catching.”

The new design will be available in the Walker Slater stores in Edinburgh and London as well as their e-commerce site: www.walkerslater.com

The definition of Harris Tweed is enshrined in law, with clear legal criteria laid down in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993.

To meet the legally-prescribed definition of Harris Tweed, tweed has to adhere to a strict specification.  This sets out that to be considered Harris Tweed, a tweed must have been “hand-woven by the islanders at their home in the Outer Hebrides and made from pure virgin wool, dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

Tweed that does not comply with these conditions is not Harris Tweed and cannot be marketed as such.  The Orb Mark, Britain’s oldest surviving Certification Mark, is managed and protected by the Harris Tweed Authority, a statutory body.

In recent years, Harris Tweed Hebrides has also worked with the Ryder Cup and the Scottish Football Association to produce collections of garments and accessories.

Brian Wilson, chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, said: “This is a very natural partnership between two iconic brands which will help Scotland’s discerning rugby followers to wear the colours and support the team in style.”

The company’s creative director, Mark Hogarth, said: “It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Scottish Rugby and Walker Slater to create something very special, which, I believe, will have real resonance with followers of Scottish rugby.”