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Tweed Bouclé


Welcome back to FABRIC INSIGHT, a series delving into the background of Engineered Garments fabrics. This time, our focus is on Dark Brown Polyester Wool Tweed Bouclé, a warm, nubby fabric steeped in history.

Despite their remote location and small land mass, the Northern Atlantic Islands boast an outsized contribution to textile production, credited with inventing some of the finest wool fabrics like tartan, cashmere, and Fair Isle. Notable among them is tweed, a fabric that has been produced by the Celtic people of Scotland and Ireland for centuries.

The original manufacturing process of tweed, a sacred technique called Calanas, begins with sorting the sheared wool according to coarseness, followed by dyeing. The Celts scoured their environment for dye ingredients, utilizing crustose lichens for magenta, birch bark for caramel, crowberry stalks for navy, bogbean leaves for olive, and more. The dyed wool is carded, spun into yarn, handwoven using a warp of either 700 or 1,400 threads, then waulked—a process involving soaking the cloth and beating it against a table to shrink it. The resulting fabric is Clò-mòr, Gaelic for "big cloth."

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Tweed’s durability, water resistance, and warmth made it ideal for estate laborers, fishermen, and farmers in the cold, misty climate of rural Scotland. Its transition to the upper classes began when English nobles found it fashionable to dress in tweed while hunting at Scottish estates in the 1820s. In a misunderstanding, a London cloth merchant's clerk mistook the term 'tweel' (Scottish for twill) in a letter for a brand name associated with fabrics from the Tweed river area, hence promoting these materials as "tweed," a label that endured.

In addition to rental income, Scottish estates produced and sold tweed to sustain their vast properties. Looms introduced a variety of styles, such as Harris Tweed, Cheviot Tweed, Gunclub Tweed, and Herringbone tweed. By 1848, when Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert acquired the Balmoral Estate, tweed had become a symbol of aristocracy, synonymous with the "country clothing" look of Norfolk jackets and hunting suits among the wealthy leisure class.

Advancements in industrial technology led to tweed production spreading across Europe and the United States, making it accessible beyond the aristocracy while still retaining its association with the well-to-do. For designer Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments, tweed was linked to American Ivy League style as he pored over magazines like Men’s Club. Tweed jackets were favored by students for their warmth, low maintenance, and versatility between formal and informal wear.

In the Fall Winter 2023 collection, Daiki incorporates the Dark Brown Polyester Wool Tweed Bouclé into products like sportcoats, hats, and outerwear. This fabric closely resembles Donegal tweed, originating in County Donegal, Ireland, known for its coarse touch and characteristic slub. Unlike traditional tweed, this version employs a bouclé yarn, creating large, slubby loops due to its two-ply structure. The polyester-wool blend provides a soft touch and lighter weight.

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Daiki selected this fabric partly because of its production in Italian mills, renowned for attention to detail and luxurious products. This elegance contrasts with the looping texture, showcasing refinement alongside the fabric's ancient tradition.

The Fall Winter 2023 Dark Brown Polyester Wool Tweed Bouclé pays homage to both the Celtic Isles and American Ivy League.

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The Engineered Garments Dark Brown Polyester Wool Tweed Bouclé is featured in the production of the following items for Fall Winter 2023:
Andover Jacket, Bucket Hat,
Carlyle Pant, DB Jacket,
Loiter Jacket, SAS Jacket