High quality products from the Isle of Lewis are being given a showcase in New York on St Andrew’s Day with support from the island’s award-winning exporter, Harris Tweed Hebrides.
In addition to displaying its own fabric range at a prestigious Manhattan event, the Shawbost-based company is backing a range of other island products that range from whisky and oatcakes to seaweed-based cosmetics.
The venue is a famous New York mansion, renamed Holiday House, located just off 5th Avenue and now used as a show house for interiors and design. For the past month, two rooms have been leased by Scottish Development International to display top-of-the-range fabrics, including Harris Tweed, and other leading Scottish products.
Each of the rooms has been stylishly set out by leading New York interior designers, James Rixner and Robert Passal. Mr Rixner said: “The fabric we have been asked about all the time is Harris Tweed. The richness of colour is so striking that it stands out. It has been a pleasure to work with it”.
Harris Tweed Hebrides chairman and former UK Trade Minister, Brian Wilson said: “We are all working for the good of the island economy. New York has long been an important market for Harris Tweed and we know that, given the chance, there are other excellent products that could flourish here. This seemed like a good opportunity to help them get their message across”.
The island products featured are Rarebird accessories in Harris Tweed, the Ishga range of seaweed-based cosmetics, Abhainn Dearg whisky from Lewis’s first distillery which uses locally grown barley, Uig Lodge smoked salmon and Stag Bakeries oatcakes, some using local seaweed flavouring.
Martin MacLeod, managing director of Hebridean Seaweed which produces the Ishga range, said: “Harris Tweed Hebrides has shown what can be done as exporters from an island base and we are delighted to work with them in expanding our own business.
“Harris Tweed benefits from the image of the place that it comes from and I believe there is far greater commercial potential than has ever been recognised in the Hebridean brand. There are quite a few other quality products that reflect the natural resources of the island”.
Harris Tweed Hebrides is the major producer of the iconic fabric and has won a string of awards for fashion, fabric production and exporting. The Holiday House event is also being supported by the Harris Tweed Authority, the industry-funded body which protects the famous Orb trademark.