February 20, 2020

What is the appeal of tartan?

Fiona Mackechnie, 68

Tartan is recognised as a symbol of Scottishness and an attractive fashion textile around the world. The Celts have been weaving tartan plaids for at least 3,000 years. And even though tartan fabric was found on mummies in Urumchi in China around 4,000 years ago , Scotland and tartan remain ineluctably linked. The country of the Scots is especially noted for the tartan plaid, a length of cloth that was wrapped around the body, anchored with a belt and then slung over a shoulder. It also protected from the elements, particularly useful in our northern climate. The kilt is the most obvious descendant of the plaid, a powerful symbol of Scottishness which acts as a kind of passport opening doors and ensuring a warm welcome to the wearer in many parts of the world. Tartan’s journey has been long, complex and endlessly fascinating, involving many things including censorship, rebellion and romance. Now this beautiful woven cloth is also recognised as an essential component of the contemporary fashion scene. My fascination with this unique fabric led me to design my own Tartan Folk characters using pure wool tartans, silks and other embellishments, as your about to find out.

Tartan Folk, 2019Fabric collage14 inches x 20 inches