Before Follina, Scotland’s famous river Tweed was home to some of the earliest known examples of carded wool, which was used primarily to stuff jackets and coats in preparation for the frigid hunting and fishing seasons. The sporty clothing, that was so monikered after the Scottish river, gave an irregular appearance quite similar to the melange yarns made from the Highlander’s characteristically rough hands. The original tweed fabrics were a kind of classical armour of Batavia, which is now the lowland region of the Netherlands. They were traditionally made with herringbone and canvas, and featured a uniquely multicoloured scheme of contrasting hues; often with colourful buttons and other such decorations. Using inspiration from the British, Lanificio Paoletti gave birth to a collection of fabrics of an English flavour with Italianised names and from this, created a unique fusion of both cultures. The fabric Homespun became Ospan, and as time passed, the first heartbeats of Paoletti’s creation inevitably materialised into his latest creation, full of colour, form, and life.
While wool sportswear began to spread quickly throughout the male-dominated upper echelons of society, where knickerbockers became a status symbol in hunting and gaming, the Great War suddenly changed everything. New trends in fashion began to emerge, namely due to such iconic figures as Greta Garbo, whom carried a distinctly informal, maverick, and androgynous appearance. Dressing masculinely became the new modus operundi of the impending revolution in fashion, to which CoCo Chanel promptly became a spokesperson. As the Western world became more distanced, both emotionally as well as economically, from the austere femininity of the Victorian age, women began to ditch their elaborate hairstyles, corsets and undergarments for a more liberating way of life. One such way was for a woman to express herself by wearing tweed jackets; formerly a man’s territory. One should note that, as “the woman in the tweed jacket” became synonymous with feminism, one such lady–the First Lady–made tweed into a cultural symbol that would forever burn into the collective conscience of America. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis donned a light-pink tweed jacket on the tragic day that her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated on the grassy knolls of Texas in their motorcade.
Exploring new facets of this amazing fabric means revisiting past traditions while taking into account the developments of contemporary sensibilities. Allowing tweed to enter the woman’s universe has softened the history and peculiarities of such a niche fabric, inevitably broadening the possibilities it can offer to the fashion world.