For the love of tartan

I was born in late September, and maybe because of that I have such love for Autumn. There is something special in the beautiful range of colors in this time of year – red, brown, yellow…Fallen leaves under my feet…a constant fight between sudden rain showers and comforting rays of sun…

And during that time I pull out my favorite Autumn items – tartan patterned skirt and jacket, with my faithful brown hat. Tartan is a fabric which constantly returns under fashion radars and will never go out of style…it is always being reinvented an it is here to stay. Tartan has some rebellion in it – it is a symbol of Scottish rebellion against England and also one of the main fashion statements in punk culture.


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Desigual tartan printed skirt

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Zara Kids tartan printed jacket

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Beautiful copper ring bought in Mostar and Angels by Ella necklace


Red handbag bought in Arka Hand Made

All above pictures are taken in the ruins of an ancient city Salona, 5km from my hometown Split.

Tartan is a pattern consisting of crisscrossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials and have become one of the most iconic symbols of Scottish culture.

Tartan originated in the Highlands where clanspeople used local plants, moss and berries to dye wool before spinning and weaving it into tartan. No-one knows exactly when tartan first came into use, but the first known mention of tartan in Scotland dates from 1538.
Tartan was so identified with the Highland Gael that after the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the British government forbade the wearing of tartan in the Highlands, in an attempt to suppress the rebellious Scottish culture.

When the law was repealed in 1782, it was no longer ordinary Highland dress, but was adopted instead as the symbolic national dress of Scotland.

image003Classical scottish military uniform from 19th century

Tartan as we know it today is not thought to have existed in Scotland before the 16th century.

For many centuries the patterns were loosely associated with the weavers of a particular area, though it was common for highlanders to wear a number of different tartans at the same time.

Today tartan and “clan tartan” are important parts of a Scottish clan. Almost all Scottish clans have several tartans attributed to their name. Several clans have “official” tartans. Tartans can represent many different things – some tartans represent families, towns, districts, corporations, individuals, events — you name it!
It is a fact that tartans today have meaning, and when you wear a tartan you are identifying yourself with what that tartan represents, be it a clan, district, or what have you.

sean connery kiltFamous actor Sean Connery in his family patterned tartan

One of the interesting facts about tartan is that the world’s first color photograph, made by the Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell  in 1861, was of a tartan ribbon.

Tartan has made reappearances in the world of fashion several times.

1950sTartan1-1001Tartan fashion in 50s

For instance, tartan made a comeback in its use in punk fashion  In the late 1970s punk music was a way for youth in Britain to voice their discontent with the ruling class.

ff540a800003357140425abe01af66bbPunk icon and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood in mid 70s

The unorthodox use of tartan, which had long been associated with authority and gentility, was then seen as the expression of discontent against modern society. In this way tartan, worn unconventionally, became anti-establishment symbol.


Different tartan variations in fashion today


Actor Alan Cummings shows us all how to wear tartan 🙂

Franz Ferdinand – Love Illumination


Braveheart theme song


Pictures taken by Miss Stella, music help by Miss Nina 🙂

10 thoughts on “For the love of tartan

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