Tartan’s Origin

Tartan as we know it has come a long way…

Dating back to the 1600s, tartan was the cloth of the Scottish Highlanders, who donned cloaks and blankets made of the warm and waterproof woollen fabric as protection from the rugged, challenging elements of their homeland.

In time, clans adopted tartan designs to represent their differing heritage, loyalties, and family lines. Colourings were made using natural materials local to the weaver, such as heather, bracken, and bog myrtle. Even urine wasn’t spared and was used to make crimsons and purples. Clan tartans were – and still are – a visual expression of the wearer’s lineage.

Traditionally, the weaving process was done on upright looms, and while modern times call for modern machines, the technique is much the same. Weft yarns are woven through warp yarns to craft a piece of fabric with a cohesive blend of colours – an art form in itself.

Today’s tartan is a classic icon, yet timeless and ever evolving with contemporary style.

While traditionally worn by pipe bands, the tartan has also been an emblem in high fashion, as well as a symbol of rebellion in the punk scene of the 80’s.

Tartan today continues to have its place in modern fashion and interior design – a contemporary icon steeped in history.