Tweed Run Melbourne
Have you heard of a Tweed Run? Where people from all walks of life dress head to toe in tweed and cycle around looking fabulous? I was lucky enough to take part in the Melbourne Tweed Run.
It started in London 2009 to celebrate all things tweed with a splash of fun and exercise rolled in too! It gives people the cause, who are passionate about tweed and lets them have fun by dressing up and sharing the morning with a community of fellow tweed lovers. Many cities all over the world take part in this quirky event - including cities within America, Mexico, Japan, Australia, Europe and Russia. And more cities are jumping in and getting involved in this event.
Tweed, and in particular Harris Tweed comes from the Scottish Outer Hebrides. On the Isle of Lewis, Harris tweed is woven by locals, many of whom work their day job then weave tweed at night in their garden sheds. It was started in the 1800s and continues to this day. The cloth reflects history, heritage, practicality and community.
Tweed can be associated with the rich class shooting on their estates, and popular characters like Sherlock Holmes. Nowadays tweed is worn by everyone - especially since it comes in so many different colours to suit different tastes, it's hard to chose a tweed I don't like!
Back to the Melbourne Tweed Run. The styles I saw the cyclists wearing included edwardian, steam punk and 1940s. People wearing tweed that was passed down to them, or others making their own outfits for the day - either way it was a feast for the eyes and everyone had a story of how their tweed was special to them. Bicycles of all shapes and sizes were on display too, including penny farthings, which was fascinating to watch these amazing contraptions riding down the street.
I myself showcased my collection of tweed wear from capes, kilts, hats to tailcoats. I wore a 1940s style outfit I had made myself especially for the event. I love clothing from the different periods - in particular the Victorian era right through to the 1940s is my utter favourite! I love the corsets and bustles from the Victorian/ Edwardian period, then loose elegant styles from the 20's and 1930s to the feminine and strong shape of the 1940s.
We all met for lunch at a cafe which overlooked the sea. The day was glorious and warm for Autumn, it was funny to see a large group of people wearing tweed right next to the beach! Usually tweed is typically worn on cold rainy days - the spectacle did draw a lot of attention - with people taking photographs!
What these events tell me is that tweed is no way outdated. People believe in the cloth. It is perfect for modern day use (I use this fabric continually, making jackets for ladies from a whole range of different weaves of tweed and colours). These events allow people to dream of another time, a romantic time where there are endless possibilities and time spent away from mobile phones and cars (which can't be a bad thing?) We all want a bit of escape don't we? And for some of us that's literally cycling away into the distance…preferably wearing tweed!
Do you have a favourite tweed outfit? Perhaps a jacket that's been in your wardrobe that you've not worn in years? I dare you to wear it with pride and support tweed!
Long live tweed!
Photos by Jasmine Griffiths
Last photo taken by Jane Clancy