The importance of tweed in country life

A Hume Country Clothing’s Archie Hume has had a life-long relationship with tweed.

I wouldn’t go quite as far as saying tweed is my entire life. But, life has largely been at, sleep, tweed, repeat since I was knee high to a Singer sewing machine. One of my earliest memories is standing in the shop gazing up at the tailors who sat in a circle at the window, rattling off made to measure tweeds whilst sooking away on their Player’s Navy Cuts. Different times…

We worked with the best mills in the Scottish Borders – we still do. At A Hume, we buy tweed, design tweed, wear tweed and sell tweed. Look at where we live – right on the banks of the eponymous Tweed.

The French have an expression, terroir, used to describe the local soil, climate and water that give wines their unique, local character and I’ve often thought – whilst enjoying a glass of deep, ruby red – that this term could equally apply to tweed.

Tweed speaks of country life like no other fabric. The yarn softened by the rivers that flow through the mill towns of the Scottish Borders.
The patterns and weaves of the tweed inspired by the local landscape: herringbone from our coast and fishing heritage, barleycorn from the arable and farming traditions, and salt & pepper, for the scoured flecked scree of the mountains. The colours also echo the terroir: heather, moss green and pale sky, or sea blues.

Each year we design new tweed collections, 80% of the tweed we sell is bespoke, designed by us and made exclusively for A Hume.

This year we’ve two very special tweeds on the drawing board.

Our 90th anniversary tweed, designed by Esther Mason in association with Lovat Mill – launching 2019. And a specially commissioned tweed for the Jim Clark Trust to help raise funds for the new museum opening in 2019.

The Jim Clark Trust tweed is designed by our head of ladieswear, Vanessa Murray – launching pre-Christmas 2018. It’s a real honour to design a tweed for the legendary racing driver, Jim Clark. Vanessa’s design is inspired by the family tartan and is rooted in the terroir of Jim’s farming and racing heritage. There’s even a subtle nod to his Lotus colours of green and yellow.

In our globalised world tweed represents a true sense of place. Tweed has come to symbolise rural life more clearly than any other fabric, retaining its authenticity and appeal for close to 200 years.

And it suits country life, practically speaking. It’s tough, robust, hard wearing and warm. I am – as anyone who knows me will tell you – rarely without a tweed jacket. There are few situations I don’t consider suitable for a tweed jacket. Truly tweed will take you anywhere. Town, as well as country.

Look up the dashing Patrick Grant for some inspiration on city tweed style. Sadly though, my wife does despair of my fondness for PJs and tweed.

I can’t really see her problem. It seems completely sensible to me to slip on a tweed jacket when I feel the urge to wander down to the river at the bottom of the garden with my morning coffee. And I was recently caught similarly attired at the Game Fair, where it is my habit to camp out on the stand overnight – believe me it’s preferable to being back at the B&B with the girls watching Love Island afloat on a sea of Prosecco.

When they arrived for work in the morning I had a job persuading them I don’t actually sleep in my tweed jacket.