Tartan Stories: What’s in a design?

Following on from the previous tartan post which questioned the special identity that tartan fabrics possess, here are snippets behind the background of a range of tartans. Some of these tartans are famously recognised and others are blessed with a meaningful context. The semiotics and connotations of especially the colours within a tartan is what really defines the design and makes each one distinct amongst the sea of stripes and squares. Continue reading “Tartan Stories: What’s in a design?”

Decoration or Descendants: What Makes Tartan Fabric Special?

Tartans are especially associated with Scotland. To some people tartans are simply a fashionable pattern whereas others believe they emerged as a way of differentiating the clans of Scotland, much like African head wraps can vary between regions. Ultimately they are a type of decorative cloth with patterns that can differ so much by just making a simple change, for instance the amount of stripes vertically or horizontally, the width, colour and the distance between the stripes. The diversity which can come from this has led to various areas in Scotland, or clans, to wear a particular tartan pattern, although it is believed that clan tartans were not truly recognised until later in the 18th century. Originally the fabric pattern would have depended on what the local producer made. So what is the history of tartan and why is the pattern so unique? Continue reading “Decoration or Descendants: What Makes Tartan Fabric Special?”