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Published: 06 February 2021

By Andy Ross

National Geographic does tweed

Tweed hit National Geographic headlines last month with an article by journalist Mike Maceacheran. 

The article, sent in by a reader from Australia (thank you, Debra) contains information about Scottish tweeds from the Borders, Highlands and Islands,  but sadly Shetland is missing from it completely. While the Scottish tweeds are successful, Shetland's own tweed industry has declined and is almost gone. In fact, if it were not for The Shetland Tweed Company, the once-proud tradition of tweed making in Shetland would have disappeared completely.

While the loss of Shetland Tweed might not seem a big issue - in the grand scheme of textile production, it isn't - the tweeds made from native sheep wool have a long history. Intermingled with the lives of countless islanders the cloth represents more than just a fabric. As the Master of Research degree, which has just been finished, demonstrates, the fabric should be much more valued than it currently is for the history it represents. I shall be writing to the author of the article to let him know about Shetland and its amazing heritage...