Lorna MacaulayChief Executive
1 Can you tell us about your career ?
I am very blessed indeed to have a wonderful job in a very wonderful place. For nearly 8 years now I have worked as CEO of the Harris Tweed Authority, based in Stornoway in the glorious Outer Hebrides of Scotland. It is an honour, privilege and great responsibility to have a role in the leadership of this very important and special industry.
2 Your present role carries great responsibility, can you tell us a bit about it ?
Certainly. The Harris Tweed Authority (HTA) is an unusual organisation and is charged with both protecting and promoting Harris Tweed. Harris Tweed is a 100% wool, handwoven cloth which can only be, be law made here in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. We are the only textile product in the world to have our own Act of Parliament!
3 What has been the highlight for you ?
Oh Elizabeth! Far too many to mention here. Hosting a private visit to a weavers home in Harris by HRH Prince Charles and Camilla was a great honour. They were just so nice – dare I say it, normal and really easy company. I’m also lucky to travel a lot, but a visit to Japan in 2010 sticks out in my mind because it was before Japan was a significant market for Harris Tweed and I was just blown away by their love of our unique heritage and story. The Japanese really get and appreciate the colour, texture and hand woven characteristics and craftsmanship of Harris Tweed. Since that time, Japan has gone on to be our largest export market by quite some considerable margin – you name it, they make it in Harris Tweed!
4 Describe your style ?
I love clothes – always have done. My style would best be described as relaxed or casual. I am curvy and have not been particularly blessed in the height department! I need to feel confident in my clothes so try to opt for well cut and well proportioned pieces. I believing choosing colours that suit your skin and hair tone is really important too. I know that black drains me – but like many women I feel slimmer and confident in it – so I try to layer a black or dark base with a brighter jacket or accent colours.
5 Does it matter to you where your clothes are made ?
It bothers me greatly how my clothes are made – less so where they are made. The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh back in 2013 was a real wake up call to me and should have been to all in the textiles and clothing sector. 1400 people, mainly women lost their lives in that horrific situation, probably making clothes that me and my family have in our wardrobes. That said, I would dearly love to see the re-emergence of a UK and particularly a Scottish clothing manufacture sector. I appreciate entirely that it will be challenging to compete on price with China and India and other established off-shore bases, however I believe in Scotland, we could become a high quality lower volume manufacturing hub, guaranteeing discerning customers the highest standards of craftsmanship and working conditions. I really applaud you Elizabeth for choosing to manufacture here in Scotland.
6 What do you look for in your 9 to 5 clothes ?
Given were I am based and the job that I do, in any one day I could find myself in the mill crawling over bales of wool, in a field photographing sheep with a journalist or in an important meeting with buyers. So leaving home in the morning, I need to be prepared for all eventualities. On the days I get to dress up and leave the island to attend corporate events, meetings, conferences and such like, I do enjoy putting on a dress and heels…for a wee while at least!
7 Do you like your clothes to be multifunctional ?
A couple of really well tailored Harris Tweed jackets or coats get me through work and play each year. Harris Tweed is just so stylish, comfortable, warm and hard wearing its lasts for season after season. I have along queue awaiting my cast-offs.
8 What do you do to relax ?
I have two lovely sons who at 21 and 18 I still love to make a fuss over. I’m also just starting to learn to play the fiddle, right now however it doesn’t at all feel like relaxing as its REALLY difficult.
9 Is there a female in public life that you admire and why ?
I think Michelle Obama always looks fantastic and Princess Kate rarely, in my view, puts a fashion foot out of line either. Now…how do I get either of them into Harris Tweed? Over to you Elizabeth…..