On the eve of the Cheltenham Festival this week, retired Champion jockey Tony McCoy and a retired racehorse were paraded dressed in Harris Tweed as a publicity stunt sponsored by William Hill.
Both looked rather uncomfortable and the poor horse looked simply ridiculous.
A fashion designer had created the outfits, and apparently it took Ms Sandham-King and her team of seamstresses and tailors, four weeks to create the suit using more than 18m (59ft) of tweed.
In my opinion, the result did nothing to enhance Harris Tweed’s image or boost the reputation of the fashion designer. I fail to see how this comic outfit could generate anything other than a snigger, which may be OK for William Hill but not for Harris Tweed. One wonders if Harris Tweed agreed to this or was it outwith their control?
The cap with holes cut out for the ears makes me question if a fashion designer had really been involved. If so, the creative talents weren’t stretched very far at all.
Thoroughbred horses are elegant creatures and the use of Tweed on these majestic animals could have been used to much greater effect, unless it was William Hill’s intention to draw attention to themselves by simply ridiculing them.
Harris Tweed is undergoing a huge revival according to Ms Sandham-King, and this stunt would attract attention at an event attended by what would arguably be seen as its target audience. However I would be surprised if either the die hard racing fans who wear Tweed suits, or the potential new audience would see this as an inspiring example.
Yes, it got news coverage, but was it good news?
William Hill may not be bothered that they have ridden rough shod over a quality brand as long as it got media space.