The future of the Harris Tweed name has been secured after the statutory body tasked with protecting the iconic Scottish brand settled a dispute with off-price retailer TK Maxx.
The Harris Tweed Authority, based in the Outer Hebrides, noted in November last year that the retailer was selling two styles of jacket that contained some Harris Tweed. It was concerned about the labelling and promotion of the fabric in the garments and that it breached the Harris Tweed Act 1993 and other rights that the Authority holds.
The Authority said that it considered such conduct with the “utmost seriousness”. It added: “Such alleged unauthorised use of the Harris Tweed name risks dilution of it and undermines the integrity of an iconic Scottish brand.”
It launched court proceedings but, following negotiations, the Authority secured an appropriate confidential settlement with TK Maxx.
Lorna Macaulay, chief executive of The Harris Tweed Authority said: “Here in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland we are a long way away from the commercial markets in which Harris Tweed is sold. We do not however let that hinder our efforts to protect our various marks registered throughout the world.”
Harris Tweed is hand woven by islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra in their own homes, using virgin wool that has been dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. Sales of Harris Tweed have soared in recent times and in 2012 production output reached the million metre mark for the first time in 1993.
The Harris Tweed Authority was created by the 1993 act as a custodian for the brand for the good of the generations to follow.