Highlands & Islands

Harris Tweed-attired Morestead marks Cheltenham 2016

Race horse Morestead in Harris Tweed Image copyright PA
Image caption Champion jockey Sir Tony McCoy and tweed-attired race horse Morestead

The world's first three-piece Harris Tweed suit for a horse has been unveiled.

Fashion designer Emma Sandham-King created the garment to celebrate horse racing's 2016 Cheltenham Festival, which starts on Tuesday.

Harris Tweed is hand woven by islanders of Harris, Lewis, Uist and Barra using wool that has been dyed and spun in the islands.

Ms Sandham-King was an apprentice of the late Alexander McQueen.

The acclaimed London-born designer McQueen, who died in 2010, had ancestral links to Scotland and used Harris Tweed and tartan in many of his designs.

'Real divas'

Ms Sandham-King and her team of seamstresses and tailors spent four weeks creating the suit using more than 18m (59ft) of tweed.

The suit, modelled by race horse Morestead and champion jockey Sir Tony McCoy, required 10 times as much fabric as an equivalent human suit.

The horse-sized garment was commissioned by bookmakers William Hill.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Morestead's garment required 10 times more material than a human suit

Ms Sandham-King said: "Creating the world's first tweed suit for a horse has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career as a designer.

"Some models can be real divas, but veteran racing horse Morestead was calm and a pleasure to work with."

She added: "Tweed is undergoing a massive revival and this year's Cheltenham Festival will see the most tweed worn since the 1960s."

Last month, it was reported that sales of Harris Tweed in 2015 amounted to 1.7 million metres.

The Harris Tweed Authority, the industry's governing body, said the figure was almost four times the amount of tweed sold when the industry was having difficulties less than a decade ago.

Seven years ago, sales of the product had dropped to 450,000 metres.

More on this story