Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Harris Tweed: a glocal case study.

Cross, Karen; Steed, Josie; Jiang, Yang



Fast and effectively disposable fashion has seen clothing reduced to transient items, worn for a short period of time then discarded. This has pushed down prices, moving textile and clothing production to low-cost labour countries and decimating the traditional Scottish textile economy. Fast fashion drives consumer demand for newness and uses finite resources that are damaging to the environment. In 2019, the pressure to move towards a more sustainable fashion and textile industry is intense. Traditional textile manufacture using natural, renewable sources that are inherently long-lasting offers a slow fashion alternative, epitomized by the Harris Tweed handweaver community in Scotland. Fashion has embraced digital, with growing online sales and increasing focus on digital content. This presents an opportunity to redress the balance by using technology to shape a sustainable future for traditional textiles. Utilizing an interpretive paradigm and inductive approach, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded networking grant is presented as a qualitative case study, investigating how immersive technologies can be used to safeguard the future of traditional textile products, to educate contemporary, global audiences on the provenance and human hand behind manufacturing processes and to encourage consumption of products with longevity. This explanatory case study finds that fashion brands are using immersive technologies for virtual changing rooms or creative customer experiences but are not exploiting the possibilities of immersive technologies in engendering a sense of place or people behind the product. Findings also reveal that the Harris Tweed Authority and Harris Tweed Hebrides brand successfully use landscape to convey a sense of place, but are under-utilizing the handwoven value and sustainable, slow fashion credentials of Harris Tweed. China is identified as a potential place for Harris Tweed to gain valuable market share, with increasingly wealthy Chinese Generation Z consumers seeking individual exclusivity and sustainability in their clothing purchases, criteria that embody Harris Tweed.


CROSS, K., STEED, J. and JIANG, Y. 2021. Harris Tweed: a global case study. Fashion, style and popular culture [online], 8(4), pages 475-494. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2021
Publication Date Oct 1, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 2, 2022
Journal Fashion, Style and Popular Culture
Print ISSN 2050-0726
Electronic ISSN 2050-0734
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 4
Pages 475-494
Keywords Sustainable consumption; Slow fashion; Augmented reality; Virtual reality; Immersive technology; Traditional textiles
Public URL


CROSS 2021 Harris Tweed (AAM) (3.4 Mb)


Copyright Statement
© 2021 Intellect Ltd Article. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Fashion, Style and Popular Culture, 8(4), pages 475-494, 2021,

You might also like

Downloadable Citations