Tweed and Cavani – A History

Tweed and Cavani – A History

Whether you wear it everyday or have just seen it on your favourite Peaky Blinder. Tweed is a fabric that we all know about. We all see it everywhere, and we all just take it for granted, but where did it come from? There’s numerous articles online about the history of tweed itself as a fabric, but not about the history of the tweed suit. So here at House of Cavani, we wanted to take you on a historical journey through the ages of the suit, which coincidentally is one of our best sellers. In order to do this though, we first need to look at where tweed itself came from.

The History

Whether you wear it everyday or have just seen it on your favourite Peaky Blinder. Tweed is a fabric that we all know about. We all see it everywhere, and we all just take it for granted, but where did it come from? There’s numerous articles online about the history of tweed itself as a fabric, but not about the history of the suit. So here at House of Cavani, we wanted to take you on a historical journey through the ages of the tweed suit, which coincidentally is one of our best sellers. In order to do this though, we first need to look at where tweed itself came from.

Harris Tweed

 

One of the most famous garment makers is Harris Tweed. The first hand weaving in the 18th century by crofters in the outer Hebrides. It was then later introduced to British aristocracy in the 1840’s by Lady Dunmore. The waterproof, insulating, heat trapping properties made tweed a clothing suitable for outdoor activities. Such as fishing and shooting, which is why it was adapted by the British due to the unpredictable weather.

Since then, many many more designers and companies have been investing in tweed. Rightly so, as it’s still one of the most popular gentleman’s fabrics to date for its properties. It later became popular in the 19th century Victorian middle classes. Who wore it for sporting, golf, cycling, tennis, motoring and mountain climbing. It’s far from the sporting clothing that we wear in today’s world. For the traditionalists however, tweed is still the fabric of choice by vintage bicyclists. It truly was the go to fabric for sports and outdoor activities back in the day. Becoming associated with specific events and personalities.

The Scottish Tweed

Tweed became more popular as it entered a new phase during the first half of the nineteenth century. Many estates in Scotland were acquired by English noblemen. In 1848, Prince Albert himself purchased the Balmoral estate in Scotland. Creating a buzz for needing to acquire a Scottish estate by many gentleman of money. If you have heard of the Balmoral Tweed, this is the pattern that Prince Albert himself designed. Which is Blue with white sprinkles and crimson colour, resembling the granite mountains of Aberdeenshire. With this, the first Estate Tweed was born. It became all the rage among estate owners to design their own special tweeds for their own land and families.

There became a distinct different between the Clan Tartan. Which is used to identify the members of the same family and the Estate Tweed. Which was used to identify people who live and work in the same estate, regardless of relation. It became much like a uniform of today, but in a much more classy way. Now you know where the rule that some royal families and aristocracy have their own tweed came from. To go with their own crests. It’s quite fascinating. Thankfully now as time has gone on, anyone can wear any patterns and colours they choose. They’re not strictly prohibited to only the estate owners and family members, so you have free reign.

There are many different tweed patterns to choose from now

Barleycorn – This is typically a coarse weave that produces the effect of barley kernels.  It is a very lively, fun pattern.

Checked – Pretty self explanatory, made up of horizontal and vertical lines that create small squares. It is sometimes reinvented with a larger overcheck in a different colour but it’s fairly simple.

Houndstooth – Also known as dogtooth, it’s designed to resemble the back teeth of a dog and has amazing camouflage properties.

Overcheck Herringbone – This is an Estate Tweed. Consisting of a pattern of herringbone weaving ovrlayed with check in various different colours.

Overcheck Twill – Consisting of a plain twill with a large check design throughout the fabric in a contrasting colour.

Striped – Pretty self explanatory, striped tweeds contain vertical stripes of various sizes to create their design.

Plainer Options

Plaids & Tartans – Symbolic of traditional Scottish patterns. It can also be woven into tweed creating tartan and plaid tweed which is used for numerous different clans.

Plain Herringbone – Named after the resemblance to fish bones. Herringbone is created by the direction of the slant alternating in different columns to create a V shape. Which is often one of the most popular choices. it’s a very pretty pattern.

Plain Twill – You might be familiar with this one. It’s a simple weave with a diagonal pattern that runs throughout the fabric.

Each of these tweed patterns has their own characteristics and designs, but all are made from the same fabric. It just depends what look you are going for, and since there’s so many. This is why there’s such a selection when it comes to tweed suits. Herringbone jackets are incredibly popular these days, it’s a very classic style. As well as houndstooth overcoats, these are a staple in everyone’s wardrobe year in, year out

So, if you want to be fashion forward and make a statement in your suit, definitely opt for a tweed suit and stand out from the crowd as an innovative dresser. Our most popular suits here at House of Cavani are the Albert Grey and Albert Brown, two suits from our core collection, so you can’t go wrong with them. They’ve been seen on celebrities and models, and soon to be you too! It’s a three piece suit featuring a Cavani pin and printed lining in our distinctive style herringbone check. We also have our famous Shelby tweed suit and the Tommy tweed suit, named after the Peaky Blinders men themselves. The perfect option for that classic, yet distinctive tweed look you want. Did you know that tweed suits had such a vast history?

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