Ken’s Creations – Glasgow’s Miles Better Tartan

An Aerial Shot of the Glasgow Garden Festival

Houston Kiltmakers owner Ken MacDonald is a well renowned Tartan Designer. As well as offering a personal tartan design service for customers, Ken has also produced prestigious tartan designs for Kilt outfits for royalty and dignitaries. Over this series of posts we will pick out some of Ken’s design and take a closer look into the story behind them. We have already looked at his Bute Heather range, this week we will put the spotlight on the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ tartan, which was designed for the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival.

Glasgow's Miles Better Tartan, Image Courtesy of Scottish Tartan Authority

1988 marked the year of the Glasgow Garden Festival, the 3rd of its kind to be held in the

UK. These National Garden Festivals were an opportunity for redevelopment of industrial areas in cities that were no longer being used. After successful Festivals in Liverpool and

Stoke, Glasgow took its turn at staging the next event.

When asked to design a tartan for the event to be used for the staff’s uniforms Ken jumped at the opportunity. The resultant tartan is the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better‘ tartan, named after the slogan used to promote Glasgow around the time of the Festival. The tartan designed can be view below:

Ken’s reasoning behind the colour choice was to keep with the colour scheme that was already being used for the Glasgow Garden Festival and other branding around the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ Campaign.

When HRH Prince Charles came to visit the festival he was presented with two Kilts by Ken in the ‘Glasgow’s Miles Better’ tartan for his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

Ken MacDonald and Prince Charles

Ken MacDonald presenting 'Glasgow's Miles Better' Tartan Kilts to HRH Prince Charles

The festival was a great success, with 4.3 million visitors in the 152 days it ran. The festival helped to restore Glasgow’s status as both a national and international City of Culture, a title which was placed on the city in 1990. Its legacy has seen a regeneration of the Riverside – the Glasgow Science Centre, SSE Hydro, the Glasgow Tower, Riverside Museum, BBC and STV’s new headquarters, among other buildings have all been constructed on and near the site of the Garden Festival.

Glasgow Garden Festival

An Aerial View of the Glasgow Garden Festival, 1988


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