Book Review: Harris Tweed

Harris Tweed is more then just a fabric in the UK. It is an institution. The material is so revered that it has its own legislation—an official Harris Tweed is: “a tweed that has been hand-woven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

Lara Platman’s gorgeous ode to the anglophile textile, Harris Tweed: From Land to Street, is an immersive introduction to the fabric. Through lush photography, informative behind-the-scenes text, and first person accounts from the people who make tweed their livelihood, Platman introduces the reader to an industry that’s as concerned with community and tradition as it is with producing quality tweed.

Harris Tweed follows Platman’s year spent in the world of the farmers, millers, and weavers of the rocky islands off the west coast of Scotland. The book explains in detail how the fabric is manufactured. Each chapter is devoted to a step in its production journey, including the wool and those who shear it, the mill, weavers, and other aspects of production, until Platman explores how the tweed is used as a final product in contemporary interior design and fashion.
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Book Review – Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion

“Most of us realize that politicians have a unique talent,” British fashion editor Annalisa Barbieri claimed. “Give them an outfit or a sentence, and they put it together in the most convoluted, illogical and unattractive way possible.” The matronly frumpiness of female political figures, with their dreary clothing choices (power suits with shoulder pads, the ubiquitous string of pearls) has rarely made first ladies and female politicians trendsetters.

Robb Young argues in Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians and Fashion that this perception is rapidly changing. A fashion journalist for the International Herald Tribune, the Financial Times, and British Vogue online, Young says that now, feeling less pressure to blend in with dark-suited males (those shoulder pads did serve a purpose), political women are expressing themselves through clothing like never before.

Today the media report on political women’s style in the breathless manner used for supermodels and actresses. But where the clothing choices of male politicians are rarely more complicated than the colour of their ties, women “take a gamble” no matter what outfit they choose.

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