A CAMPAIGN has been launched calling for Harris Tweed to be recognised as the "sustainable fabric to the world".

Its heritage, style and durability set it apart from other textiles, according to the industry.

At an event in New York, former UK Trade Minister Brian Wilson said that the fabric "ticks every box of sustainability".

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He said: "Everyone loves Harris Tweed but relatively few people know the story that makes it so special. We hope this campaign will encourage interest not just in the product but also the place from which it comes and the process which creates it."

Mr Wilson is chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, based at Shawbost on the Isle of Lewis, which was recently named UK Textile Company of the Year.

He was speaking at the new Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) campus in New York. He said: "I doubt if there is another brand in the world with the fame of Harris Tweed which rests on the skills of so few people within a single community.

"The key fact is that Harris Tweed survives and flourishes in the Outer Hebrides because an Act of Parliament says it cannot be made anywhere else. That raises questions of global importance about the rights of communities to protect indigenous industries."

Mr Wilson and Harris Tweed creative director, Mark Hogarth, were participating in a discussion on the qualities of Harris Tweed with Doug Shriver, senior fabric specialist with Brooks Brothers, who have been using the fabric since 1932, and Esquire magazine fashion director, Nick Sullivan.

Cara Smyth, GCU vice-principal for the New York campus, said: "This was the launch event in a series of high-level dialogues about fashion and sustainability. The obvious place to start was with Harris Tweed, a wonderful product with a close affinity to this city."

Mr Hogarth added: "Fashion and style are no longer exclusively about how things look."