Tartan talk: Protect the Scottish brand
Members of the Inner Wheel Club of Rutherglen got to grips with their Scottish heritage last month as they learned about a campaign to protect the future of tartan.
Ken McDonald, of Houston Kilt Makers in Paisley and vice chairman of the Tartan Association, attended the May meeting of the group to share his knowledge of the 1,400 tartans registered with the association.
Passionate about Scotland’s national dress, Ken told the group about a campaign to introduce the “Tartan Mark”, which would see an official icon on clothing to highlight authentic tartans made in the UK.
Explaining 65 UK tartan weavers have been lost in recent years due to the mass number of imported tartans from across the globe, Ken said it had been suggested a trade mark, such as that used by Harris Tweed, could be adopted to highlight authentic clothing.
Ken informed the group that more tartan was produced in Italy than Scotland, stating the Highland weavers were particularly susceptible to fashion trends and to foreign imports.
The campaign has already won the support of several MPs and H. R. H Prince Charles, who is very keen to protect tartan and its future.
London weavers are being asked to work to promote the campaign in England and Wales, seeking support for those weavers who produce tartans there, while European protection for generic products is also being sought.
Ken was thanked for his very interesting and eye-opening talk, with the ladies commenting that although they all thought they had known something about tartan, they now realised just how little they knew or understood.
Expert Ken McDonald of the Tartan Association with the Inner Wheel Club’s Jan Dobson