Tartan Day: The History of Scottish Tartans.

Tartan Day: The History of Scottish Tartans.

Every year on April 6, our friends across the US and Canada celebrate their Scottish heritage on Tartan Day. The date was specifically chosen to honour the Declaration of Arbroath, which was signed on this day in 1320.

Deeply woven into our heritage, the tartan cloth has long been associated with the country of Scotland and our culture for centuries. But how much do you really know about the history of the textile?

Tartans in the Past.

Traditionally woven in wool, tartan was uniform highland wear for hundreds of years. Despite popular belief however, Highlanders only associated tartans with districts and regions instead of families and clans as we know now. This was due to local tastes and the availability of natural dyes which differed across the country.

However, in an attempt to control warring clans, the British Government made all Highland dress including the kilt and other significant aspects of Gaelic culture, illegal in Scotland with the Dress Act of 1746. The only exemption to this law allowed members of the Black Watch to continue to wear kilts as part of their traditional uniform whilst serving in the army.

In 1782, the law was repealed and tartan finally resumed its status as the symbolic national dress of Scotland. Afterwards, it became fashionable to wear the cloth again after King George IV visited the country in 1822 to observe a tartan pageant whilst wearing a kilt.

As a result, and with a renewed interest in past customs, it was after this visit that tartans were officially associated with Highland clans, and were later legally registered with the Highland Society of London. The Society's main goal was to restore our past traditions before the Dress Act came into play.

Discover Our Favourites.

Woven in 100% pure cashmere or lambswool, inspired by our heritage and the rugged landscapes of Scotland, our collections combine luxury fabrics with classic and unique designs. Explore the collections below.

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