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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June, 2005, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Tweed running mate 'suits Nike'
Donald John MacKay
Donald John MacKay said Nike was showing a great deal of interest
Fashion giant Nike is again looking to the Western Isles to add some unique flair to its clothing, it has emerged.

It comes after Harris Tweed designed by weaver Donald John MacKay was chosen for a run of limited edition trainers.

Mr Mackay, from Luskintyre, Harris, said the firm had now inquired about ordering more cloth, possibly for hooded tops.

Industry leaders said the exposure had already boosted the profile of tweed amongst younger people.

Nike had been looking for a way to update a trainer called The Terminator, a basketball shoe from the 1980s, when they originally approached Mr MacKay.

Donald John MacKay
They are back in touch with us and still have more plans for Harris Tweed
Donald John MacKay

After seeing test swatches, Nike ordered nearly 10,000 metres of cloth.

Weavers throughout the Outer Hebrides were called into action to meet the demand, because Mr MacKay could only produce so much in the loom shed behind his house.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Nike were overwhelmed by the success of the shoes, bearing in mind they were a limited edition, they were selling out as fast as they were hitting the shelves.

"So much so that they have extended the range, the same design, but they are doing more of them.

"They are back in touch with us and still have more plans for Harris Tweed. What they are we do not know, but they're asking about the availability and deadlines.

Nike tweed shoe
The tweed trainers have given a boost to weavers

"Along with the shoes, they were sampling for ladies hooded tops, we haven't heard much, but they're certainly expressing a great interest."

Derick Murray, the owner of the two key mills which produce most of the tweed exported from the Outer Hebrides, said the whole industry was benefiting.

He said: "We have had interest from at least two well-known high street names who have bought Harris Tweed this season.

"It gets the cloth into a much younger consumer and that's what we've been trying to do for years because Harris Tweed has been known to be bought by the older person.

"We didn't have the money to market it and get a younger customer to buy it, but Nike have done this for us."

Despite the success Mr MacKay revealed that he was not really a trainer wearer. He said he had given away his pair of Nike Terminators.

Nike forge unlikely tweed link
22 Jun 04 |  Scotland

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