If you feel like 2017 fashion was dominated by checked prints, you’re not wrong. The return of the heritage print is hard to avoid, as it’s taken to runways and street style. You might not have bought a pair of ruffled hem tweed trousers yourself but you probably know someone who has. As we take a journey down tweed lane, we’ll examine whether this print is all it’s hyped up to be, or if it should’ve stayed in 1800’s England.
Tartan? Tweed? Houndstooth? Huh?
The vast amount of printed checks, especially those from England, can get confusing. These are all part of the Plaid family and even if you haven’t actually worn them or know what to call them, you’ll probably recognise most of these. While gingham, houndstooth and tartan have been quite popular, we’re focusing on tweed, originally a hand woven working man’s cloth designed to withstand the elements.
What’s In a Name?
In this case, a bit of confusion. There are two theories which explain the origin of tweed, with the first being that instead of transcribing “tweel” (or a “twill”, describing a fabric’s weave) a clerk in 1826 London wrote out “tweed” and the name came into being. Alternatively, some believe the name came from a place, the Tweed Valley alongside the River Tweed in Scotland. Either way, the name stuck.
The evolution of tweed
On the runways, tweed was seen in various ways: from fringed and multi-coloured at Chanel, to printed on sportsluxe-approved golf tees at Marni. Tweed has evolved from its original form. The tight weave with a very scratchy feel has been adapted for today. It’s now printed directly onto the fabric, as opposed to the print coming about from the actual weave. The fabric was originally intended for harsh winters, but can now be worn all year round.
The streets outside each fashion week venue around the world were also filled with tweed, as well as various other checks. The textile was mainly used on tailored pieces such as jackets and coats, trousers and pinafore dresses. It provides quite a serious feel, especially as it’s more recently been associated with the corporate world and so when paired with something unexpected, became a street style winner.
We don’t see this trend going anywhere, so we say get your hands on the tweed pieces available now just make sure you learn to differentiate your tweeds from your tartans…