Saturday 28 May 2011

Smaller on the inside

Blimey - talk about getting things out of perspective and getting the wrong end of the stick!!

You’ve probably seen the news about the discovery of the screen-used tweed fabric for Matt Smith’s latest jacket.
It quickly caused a real buzz and was the talk of the forums.

I went to get my own supply from W Bill in London, and saw for myself the Aladdin’s cave of genuine Scottish tweeds and tartans that filled their warehouse to the rafters. I asked how many they offered, and it was estimated to be around 10,000 to 15,000 designs, not necessarily all held in-hand, but available to order.

The fabric used for the season six jacket is a genuine 100% new wool, woven in the Shetland Isles (see left).

So it was to my jaw-dropping amazement that I read the story on the Irish Independent website about how Harris Tweed Scotland were in ‘FURY’ – as the headline would have us believe – that the BBC had used an acrylic mix made in China for the jacket!!!

Soon the Daily Record picked up on the story, making the subject more emotive by headlining the apparent Chinese connection.

It wasn’t long before the national press got hold of the story, notably that bastion of Middle England: The Daily Mail.

The blame was now squarely levelled at the BBC.

Now, you need to read very much between the lines to find something near the truth to this story, and take into account the upcoming official replicas due from AbbyShot.

Last year AbbyShot produced a replica Tennant Coat, claiming it to be screen-accurate. Now I’ve done the research and know the original coat inside out and I was chronically disappointed with the result they produced. It was far from screen-accurate, missing on almost every point on the coat – honestly, don’t get me started!

So I took with a pinch of salt the news of their Matt Smith jacket, especially since the screen-used fabric from W Bill is some £60 a metre.
No images have been released of their version, and only a few details have trickled out in the commercial listings on sites due to Market the jacket.

On thing I did notice was the fabric to be used was listed as a wool/acrylic mix, leading me immediately to think they won’t be using the genuine Shetland Tweed.

It’s this fact that has been taken out of context and paraded as fact that MATT SMITH is wearing a cheap China-made replica in a nasty fabric!

The connection to the Canadian based Abby Shot was soon picked up in their home county by Postmedia reporter Randy Boswell, first in the Vancouver Sun, then syndicated in the Calgary Herald.

The same piece appeared the following day in the National Post.

Anyway, I wanted to get to the bottom of all this, so I contacted Lydia Walton at Harris tweed Scotland, who told me the following:
We were contacted by the Glasgow press agency at the weekend that said that the jacket that Dr Who is wearing in the latest series is a cheap Chinese imitation tweed - we of course were a bit put out as we thought that the time Lord would still be wearing a Harris Tweed jacket made in the time honoured way. Anyway, to cut a long story short it sounds from your research that it is not a Harris Tweed so therefore it is nothing to do with us!!!! However, buying a well made, quality Harris Tweed fabric is very simple and to buy one similar to Matt Smith vintage jacket in his first series then click on to either buy online or find a stockist.
Good to see the press don’t put their own spin on a story to MAKE the story.

As Charles Foster Kane once said, “If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough.”

1 comment:

  1. So if I am to understand correctly, Abbeyshot is simply doing what they usually do by making a sub-par replica, their materials have been noted, then everyone somehow assumed from word of mouth that Matt Smith was wearing jackets made from said fabric?

    In short, the news simply made a big deal out of nothing while pointing blame at the wrong people for something that didn't even happen?

    That's pretty crazily stupid if so.


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