Tarnish Your Tartans!

By Ashley Mullen

What do shaggy sheep, relentless rain, boisterous bagpipes, and plaid kilts have in common? Perhaps their own country? Scotland. A mysterious land of accents and tartans has many obvious stereotypes as previously mentioned, but certainly fashion does not belong with Scottish association. Doesn’t everyone in Scotland walk around in garb like this?


Scotland is shafted into a massive English lump of Great Britain and outshined by fashionable London Streets. One would be surprised to know of the efforts that Scotland has accommodated to make strides onto the fashion market. To conceptualize their modern fashion we must take a look into the past.

            Despite the naughty stereotype, Tartan is the official Scottish symbol even to this day. History and origin of this bold fabric is quite complicated. Strung through vicious wars and muddy fields, tartans were the staple fabrics for kilts throughout the land. Districts or regions adopted a certain tartan pattern to represent their unique identity, which eventually morphed into “clan” tartans. Although streetwalkers do not adorn themselves in tartan from head to toe it remains a stronghold symbol of this great nation.

            Another historical fashion icon assuredly points its way to Pringle of Scotland. Birthed from early 1800s, this high-end company was welcomed to the world of fashion as the first luxury knit manufacturer. With the help of the Duke of Windsor, the preppy brand, chalk full of argyle and cardigan sweater sets, became a British fashion staple.

To keep up with the constant, revolutionizing fashion world, the brand began to expand to the international luxury stage in 2000 and made it all the way to major runways with men’s and women’s collections. The brand has made leaps and bounds from its early origins to compete with current fashion collections while keeping the iconic brand image in mind.

From Pringle to plaid, hopefully you can begin to conceptualize my previous premise that Scotland does in fact have fashion sense. Their efforts in the fashion realm are noteworthy and successful. The Scottish Fashion Awards have become a well-known event promoted by respected industry professionals that fortuitously put Scottish designers on the map. Some successful, Scottish designers include Jean Muir, Belinda Robertson, and Shirley Pinder.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Chanel certainly understood the importance of understanding that people live fashion by sporting their unique style on the streets. Scottish street fashion seems to recollect trendy European items with hearty knits and wools, preppy classics, and heavy layering. Due to the high volume of knit and fiber manufacturing these Scot stylists do not shy away from using hearty fabrics for style in the constant cold, rainy climate. Armed with bundles of stylish, Scottish scoop, grab some mutton and gnaw on the fact that Scotland ascertains a status of sensational style.

To Read a Wee Bit More About Scotland:

Duncan, J.A. (2010). History of Scottish Tartans and clan tartans. Retrieved May 14,

2012, from http://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/tartan-history.html

Pringle of Scotland history. (2011). Retrieved May 14, 2012, from


Scottish fashion and textiles. (2012). Retrieved May 14, 2012, from


Women’s Collection. (2012). Retrieved May 14, 2012, from


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