By December 1990 the final draft of the bill and been circulated and by April 1991 the eleven members of the Harris Tweed Association unanimously approved the terms subject to such alterations as the Parliament of the United Kingdom might think fit to make to it.
Readings of the bill took place in early 1991 and, after some procedural difficulties After 82 years as voluntary guardian of the Harris Tweed industry and Orb trade marks the Harris Tweed Association became the Harris Tweed Authority, a legal statutory body charged under UK law with safeguarding the industry in the years ahead.
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At the turn of the 20th century the development of the Harris Tweed industry was growing.
Small independent producers, often entrepreneurial general merchants, had largely supplanted the landlord proprietors in both Harris and Lewis as middlemen between weavers and textile wholesalers in the south of the UK.
Woven and worn for generations well before the introduction of the Orb, the Harris Tweed story shows no signs of slowing down.
The ‘Guardians of the Orb’ further ensured the cloth’s unique status in 1993 when the Harris Tweed Association became the Harris Tweed Authority, and the artisan weaving skills and geographical location were defined and protected by an Act of Parliament, safeguarding the name for future generations.
The result of these two factors saw the increase in poor quality tweed, made by inexperienced weavers from imported, mainland mill-spun yarn and this inferior tweed in turn affected the market for traditional produced Harris Tweed made by experienced weavers from hand-spun island yarn.