Hunters of Brora: Tweed from the Scottish Highlands
In addition to the local lemonade factory, fish curing facility, and a distillery, Brora is also home to Hunters of Brora distinguished producer of authentic Scottish tweed.
Nestled in the Scottish Highlands lies the village of Brora. The town's name is derived from a word meaning 'river with a bridge' in ancient Norse, and today it is home to a thriving community and number of diverse industries and businesses.
While Scotland has long been a producer of fine wool and a variety of textiles, none evokes the beauty and romance of the Scottish hills like tweed. The production of tweed dates back countless generations, when it was first produced within rural farming communities as a performance fabric, celebrated for its durability and warmth.
Story has it that the iconic fabric got its name through a miscommunication. A clerk working for a mill in Peebles mistook a handwritten label denoting a fabric as 'twill' (at that time 'tweel'), for the name of the local river, 'Tweed.' Little did he know, he was creating a brand new category of fabric, for which his home country would become world-famous.
While today tweed is known for its characteristic variegated coloring, it was originally produced as a solid-colored fabric for use in men's attire. Most tweed fabric was dark brown, black, or gray, and was primarily celebrated for its practical applications rather than for its distinctive appearance.
The classic tweed flecks we've now come to expect are due to the use of twist yarns, which combine two colors of thread into one strand. With the advent of new, high-performance dyes that can impart color onto even the coarsest fibers, tweeds are also available in a much wider spectrum of colors than those in which they were originally produced many years ago.
Today's featured supplier was founded in 1901 in the Scottish town of Wick by Thomas Hunter. Soon after its founding, the business was relocated to its current location in Brora, and was renamed Hunters of Brora to reflect the move. Over time, Hunters expanded its product line and experimented with different production methods to create a thriving business known for producing some of the world's finest tweed.
Unfortunately, in 2003, the slumping economy took a toll on the producer, and it looked Hunters would sadly be forced to close its doors. Luckily, a local businessman bought the company, and while they did have to relocate production to a new mill, Hunters continues in the tradition of excellence for which it has always been known.
A family-run business, Hunters of Brora is owned and managed by a husband and wife team who make sure things run smoothly while juggling the responsibilities of raising their young son, Fergus, and caring for their horse, Peanut. Although the business changed hands, the new owners are committed to respecting the company's rich heritage of excellence and quality.
They continue to produce classic tweeds based on original designs, while also offering extensive bespoke design services, and a full line of innovative products including tartans, caps, and upholstered furniture. All of Hunters of Brora's collection is produced in Scotland with the highest-quality raw materials. Their commitment to excellence and innovation has not only saved this legendary business, but works to ensure the production and appreciation of tweed continues for many years to come.