Overcoming a deep-seated aversion to the stuff, Aleks Cvetkovic finally comes to terms with tweed, discovering its unequalled powers of self-expression. (Originally published in Vol. 1 of Common Thread, under the title 'The Power to Transport'.)
I’ve always found tweed a curious thing. As a sartorial obsessive I feel like I should have more of an affinity towards it than I do. Perhaps because I’m in my early twenties and spent three years at one of the stuffiest universities on the planet, I’ve experienced some sort of psychological allergic-reaction to it. I’m not sure.
It’s certainly true that, even now, when I spot a certain type of self-aware, windswept gentleman wandering down the street in scuffed driving shoes, needlessly slim red chinos and a loud green and orange tweed sport coat, I can’t help but twinge a little inside. It’s a shame, because as I learned only recently, tweed at its most original and honest has quite a different power of transportation. On a trip to a fifteenth century tweed mill in the Scottish highlands I had an epiphany; I saw tweed in the context of its natural environment. The mill was untouched by time, nestled in a secluded gully with a stream trickling under a stone bridge, fighting against the onset of moorland moss and weeds. Within, two rickety, click-clacking looms weaving cloth at a painfully slow pace chugged away. Somehow, watching the warp and weft passing through the loom, like a pendulum swinging from side to side, felt like witnessing a process entirely connected to the natural world; the cold current of the stream passing through the mill’s water-wheel, the chill breeze rattling at the windowpane and whistling through the cracks in the wooden workshop doors.