Harris Tweed is marking a milestone in its history by celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which gave the cloth official protection.
The quality fabric is only woven in the Western Isles and the legal protection guarantees its security from imitations.
It’s believed to be the only textile in the world protected by its own Act of Parliament which insists the cloth can only be made in the Western Isles.
Kelly Macdonald carries on the centuries-old tradition in her remote workshop on the Isle of Lewis.
She says the cloth is vital economically to island life.
“It allows people to work in rural villages where there might not be other sources of income available so if you are a Harris Tweed weaver you can work rurally so it’s vitally important,” she explained.
“The Harris Tweed Act itself is what protects our livelihoods by ensuring every part of the production of the cloth has to be performed in the Outer Hebrides ,and nowhere else in the world.
“For people to try and replicate that elsewhere and call a cloth Harris Tweed when it is not being produced on the islands is a huge threat to weavers. The act keeps us special.”
Today, the industry brings around £12m to the local economy and supports about 400 jobs.
Without its protection, the industry and almost 400 jobs risked being lost to the Outer Hebrides by mainland mill owners.
However, the body which protects the cloth says it’s still in an almost daily battle to prevent global misuse.
The Harris Tweed Authority says attempts are continuously made to illicitly pass off non-Harris Tweed as the real thing.
It says lawyers and IT specialists continually warn off counterfeiters and brand abusers.
“If they don’t do anything about it then we take action,” explained Norman Macdonald of the Harris Tweed Authority.