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Artisan Spotlight
Touring Lovat Mills

Exploring the Rich History and Craftsmanship of Lovat Mills in Hawick, Scotland

Threads of Tradition

Nestled in the heart of Scotland, Lovat Mill is a cherished gem in the world of textile manufacturing. In a visit to this historic establishment, Mark Cho met with Alan Cumming, one of the owners and design directors of Lovat Mill, to delve into the fascinating history and intricate artistry behind tweed production.

The conversation began with Alan providing insights into the origins of tweed, a fabric synonymous with Scottish heritage. He recounts the intriguing tale of how the term "tweed" was coined due to a miscommunication involving a shipment to London, ultimately leading to the birth of a renowned textile category. With its roots deeply embedded in the Scottish borders, Lovat Mill proudly claims its position as the rightful home of tweed.

Tweed, as Cumming explained, is characterized by its woolen twill composition, often sourced from local sheep breeds for traditional qualities. However, the softer variations necessitate wool from regions like Australia and New Zealand. Despite its diverse origins, tweed maintains a distinctive texture, embodying qualities of robustness and warmth.

Crafting Heritage

One of the highlights of Lovat Mill's production is its estate tweeds, meticulously crafted designs exclusive to particular properties. These bespoke creations, some spanning over a century, are safeguarded within the mill's archives, ensuring their uniqueness and heritage remain preserved.

Distinguishing tweeds from tartans, Cumming shed light on the creative complexity involved in tweed production. Unlike tartans, which adhere to a simpler color pattern, tweeds offer a canvas for experimentation with various yarn compositions and color mixtures. This versatility allows artisans to craft truly unique and vibrant textiles.

From Wool to Weave

The conversation shifted to the technical aspects of tweed manufacturing, particularly the juxtaposition of worsted and woolen spun yarns. By blending these fibers, Lovat Mill achieves a delicate balance between durability and finesse, catering to diverse preferences and climates worldwide.

Cumming attributed the distinctive texture of Shetland tweeds to the indigenous sheep breeds of the region. The coarse, hairy wool imparts a rugged charm to these textiles, reflecting the natural landscape and heritage of the Shetland Islands.

Innovation and Tradition

With thousands of new designs produced annually, the mill remains at the forefront of innovation while honoring its rich legacy. Within the halls of Lovat Mill, tradition and innovation intertwine, weaving a tapestry of Scottish heritage and global craftsmanship.

Lovat Cloth Commisions

Lovat's tweeds and woolens have been a core part of our read-to-wear collections for years. We also frequently use their fabrics with our various custom programs. A favorite of our friend G. Bruce Boyer and our own Daniel Greenwood, seen here in his bespoke sport coat by Tailor Caid using the very same tweed shown above.

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