Harris Tweed is being hampered by an idea that it is just for "itchy, old man jackets", the cloth's makers and users have claimed.
Ann MacCallum, manager of the Carloway Mill on Lewis, said more young people must be encouraged to work in the industry to secure its future.
Design student Karen MacLean, also from Lewis, said the material could be used in fashion and interior design.
She said: "It has come a long way in the last few years."
The third year textiles student at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University said: "I know how amazing the cloth is and that it can be applied to fashion and interior design.
"It is not a rough cloth. It is very pliable.
"It is not an itchy, old man's jacket cloth and I think it can be applied to a lot of things in fashion."
Ms MacCallum said young people entering the Scottish textile industry should learn the history and process of making Harris Tweed.
She added: "The industry is dominated by older people and we have to encourage not just one or two, but tens of young people to work directly in the mills, or to use the cloth."
Harris Tweed's image has enjoyed a higher profile in recent months.
Earlier this year, makers of the Harris Tweed were overwhelmed by the level of interest in their cloth by fans of Doctor Who.
Matt Smith, the 11th doctor, wears a traditional Hebridean hand-woven jacket in the new series.
A fashion designer from Fort William whose designs regularly features the tweed was a nominee in year's Scottish Style Awards.
Judith R Clark, 25, who is now based in Edinburgh, was nominated in the designer of the year category.
Western Isles company Harris Tweed Hebrides also picked up the outstanding contribution award at ceremony in Glasgow.